Local Corporatism and Culture-oriented Urban Redevelopment: Transforming a Ferry Terminal into an Art Museum in Ningbo, China

By Han Zhang.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In order to conceptualize China’s economic miracle in the past 30 years, it is of vital importance to look at the developmental and/or entrepreneurial nature of China’s local states. Meanwhile, the “entrepreneurial city” has become a major theoretical approach to study urban governance in China. Based on China’s unique polity of party-state and China’s cultural heritage like Confucian authoritarianism, China’s entrepreneurial cities are being created through unique and localized frameworks. In the case of the Ningbo Art Museum project, in can be found that, against the backdrop of fierce inter-city competition in China, in order to enhance Ningbo’s comprehensive competitiveness and the development of cultural undertakings, Ningbo’s local state has established unique public-public partnerships with local state-owned-enterprises in Ningbo, which, through such mechanisms like flow of funds and policy inputs between the state and enterprises, have transformed the former Ferry Terminal to the Ningbo Art Museum. The scenario of the Ningbo case echoes to the “local state corporatism” by Jean Oi, while has its own uniqueness, for instance, “city” is the target for the partnership and urban policies, and the state intervention into the enterprises’ operations is not as direct and strong as in Oi’s case. In addition, the local branch of orthodox state corporatist organization “wenlian” played as the executor of the Ningbo project. Based on the studies of “local/urban corporatism” in the UK and Australia, “Chinese Urban Corporatism” is tentatively coined to conceptualize the city-based local corporatism, the public-public partnership, and the roles played by the local branches of state corporatist organizations in representation and intermediation of various local interests.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial City, Urban Redevelopment, Local Corporatism

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.371MB).

Han Zhang

PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

I am currently a PhD candidate of sociology at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). I got a bachelor degree in sociology from Shandong University (Jinan, China) and a master degree in sociology from Nanjing University (Nanjing, China) prior to my PhD candidature at HKU. My main research areas are urban and regional studies, with special interests in urban redevelopment, urban governance and urban ethnography in China. My current PhD research is a case study of the Ningbo Laowaitan redevelopment project, aiming to exam the changing urban governance in contemporary China from the theoretical perspectives of entrepreneurial state and corporatism.