Production of Space and Space of Production: High Tech Industrial Parks in Beijing and Shanghai

Jenn-hwan Wang, National Chengchi University
Tse-kang Leng, National Chengchi University and Academia Sinica
Zhongguancun's Ten Zones. Source: Zhou and Tong (2005).
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The development of high-tech industrial parks (HTIPs) has become a salient phenomenon in China’s economic and urban development. Current studies regarding the development of HTIPs tend to focus either on the active role of the local government or on the consequences of technological innovation that those parks may have brought about. Very few studies have paid attention to the intrinsic relationship between the process of space production in building HTIPs and the effect on urban development. To fill this theoretical gap, this article considers developing HTIPs as a territorial project through which both central and local states seek to promote economic growth by reorganizing their territories so as to facilitate capital accumulation based on building high-tech industrial parks. The authors use Beijing’s Zhongguancun and Shanghai’s Yangpu areas as examples to show the active role played by district governments in promoting and using the symbol of “high tech” to develop industrial estates. In the end, due to the HTIPs’ quick tax-generating potentiality, their construction has given rise to commodity housing and commercial projects which district governments are much more enthusiastic to pursue. The property-led high-tech development projects have paradoxically generated a negative impact on sustainable high-tech development.