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Title: Public participation in the urban regeneration process : a comparative study between China and the UK
Author: Sun, Lei
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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The primary aim of this research is to explore how the urban regeneration policies and practices are shaped by the larger social, political and economic structures respectively in China and the UK and how individual agents involved in the regeneration process formulate their strategies and take their actions and at the same time use discourses to legitimize their actions. It further probed the lessons could be learned by both countries from each other’s success or failure in implementing the regeneration initiatives. This thesis adopts a cross-national comparative strategy and intensively referenced the Variegated Neoliberalism, Neoliberal Urbanism and Critical Urban theory when developing its theoretical framework. The comparison was conducted at three levels. At national level, the evolution of urban regeneration and public participation policies and practices in both countries are compared; at city level, the neoliberal urban policies and their impacts on the development of two selected cities, which are respectively Liverpool in the UK and Xi’an in China are compared; at the micro level, the major players’ interactions and the discourses they used to underpin their actions in two selected case studies, which are the Kensington Regeneration in Liverpool and Drum Tower Muslim District in Xi’an are examined and compared. In carrying out the study, literatures regarding the transformation of urban policies in the two countries, detailed information in relation to the two selected cities and case studies are reviewed. Around 35 semi-structured interviews have been conducted. The research results had demonstrated the suitability of the Variegated Neoliberalism in explaining how the process of neoliberalization in both China and the UK are affected by non-market elements. It is found that the stage of economic development, the degree of decentralization, the feature of politics and the degree of state intervention in economic areas had played a significant role in shaping the unique features of urban regeneration policies in the two countries. In spite of the differences, similar trends towards neoliberalization could be found in the evolution of urban regeneration policies and practices in both countries, including the elimination of public housing and low-rent accommodation, the creation of opportunities for speculative investment in real estate markets, the official discourses of urban disorder as well as the ‘entrepreneurial’ discourses and representations focused on urban revitalization and reinvestment are playing significant roles in the formation and implementation of regeneration policies in both countries. Moreover, similar tactics are used by municipal government in both countries to conquer resistances from local residents. In the research, it is also found that the discourses used by the municipal government in describing the regeneration project is heavily influenced by the Neoliberal Urbanism, which is significantly different from that used by local residents who intensively referenced concepts from the Critical Urban theory. It is suggested that the Chinese government should from its British counterpart’s experience in introducing partnerships in delivering urban regeneration programs and at the same to learn how to use the formal venues to resolve conflicts resulted in physical regeneration programs. For the British government, lessons could be learnt from China’s successful experiences in decentralization and the empowerment of municipalities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)