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Urban development processes in the UK and China: a comparative study

Chen, X. (2019) Urban development processes in the UK and China: a comparative study. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00084862


This research looks at the processes of urban redevelopment programmes through a comparison between the UK and China. It centres on the networks of relationships between the key agents engaged in the conceptualisation and implementation of central city property redevelopment schemes. This is undertaken to explore similarities and differences between those networks and evaluate their impacts on co-ordination within the development process and the resultant redevelopment outcomes; and the networks are analysed with reference to the local institutions that shape individuals’ and organisations’ behaviours in the specific industry. Accordingly, the underlying theoretical perspective is an institutional one which argues that such networks persist across other commercial redevelopment schemes and represent stable structures of building provision in each locality. This approach makes it possible to explore the ways in which local policy makers, planners, developers, building professionals and other stakeholders interact more generally using a limited set of case study schemes. Therefore, six case studies of large-scale urban redevelopment programmes form a cross-section through enduring set of institutional structures central to urban redevelopment and central city property development. 70 interviews were conducted with a range of professionals and key agents involved in those programmes. From these case studies, a good understanding can be derived of the nature of the commercial real estate development industry in the two countries and their drivers and outcomes. It is concluded that, although there are significant differences in the arrangements of agents in property development processes in the two countries, there are also many similarities, because the nature of urban development is to a large extent the same. The types of agents involved and the way they worked together in projects in the two countries converge when market viability is taken into consideration. Nonetheless, widespread distinctions lie in the different institutions of land ownership, the governmental/political system, finance, the real estate market and planning processes, as well as in cultures of inter-personal communication and trust building in the real estate and construction industries. Some of these institutionally-based distinctive arrangements and relationships between agents lead to the different scales, speeds, costs and land-use types in urban redevelopment programmes in the two countries. However, others are found to have limited impact on the processes and outcomes of commercial property development. Notable are those related to community involvement and democratic decision-making, except through the formal processes of central and local governments.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Ball, M. and Pain, K.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:84862
Date on Title Page:2018

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