City as province in China: the territorial urbanization of Chongqing

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Journal Article
Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2017, 58 (2), pp. 201 - 230
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Chongqing is a province-level city region in China’s interior with a land area larger than many small countries. Limited scholarship tends to treat Chongqing as a new jurisdiction formed in relation to development of the Three Gorges Dam and reform of historic state-planned industry from the Mao era. This analysis turns to the complex process of land redistricting in a process of “territorial urbanization” that has also simultaneously reshaped the economy of Chongqing. By conceptualizing Chongqing as a dynamic administrative territory, this analysis defines changes in the relational configuration of its administrative divisions (xingzheng quhua) as a multi-faceted state strategy of governing land use change and the fiscal regime to realize infrastructure development. Especially by establishing districts in Chongqing, territorial urbanization works to enhance the funding capacity of the Chongqing government to develop larger, expansive infrastructure projects. This urban transformation of Chongqing demonstrates how processes of land use change and government funding, materializing in the built environment, are directly related to changes in state territorial configuration.
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