The Financialisation of Urban Development and Associated Financial Risks in China

Duration: 02/17 – 01/20

The rapid growth of China’s housing and infrastructure in recent years has been sustained in part by the emergence of novel land-based financing mechanisms. However, while these models have supported significant economic growth, there is still considerable uncertainty around how they are used and the potential risks they may carry.

The Financialisation of Urban Development and Associated Financial Risks in China seeks to improve current understanding of the complex financing landscape driving the expansion of Chinese cities through comparative research in six case study areas in the coastal (Shanghai and Shenzhen), central (Zhengzhou and Changsha) and western (Chengdu and Chongqing) regions. The fieldwork will include in-depth interviews with local stakeholders including officials, developers and real estate agents, analysis of specific institutional frameworks and personal surveys of thousands of homeowners.

The findings will greatly enhance the existing knowledge base on China’s financing environment in urban development, benefitting not only local actors but also UK partners and investors through the promotion of better understanding of these issues.

Project website

Fulong Wu (Principal Investigator, Bartlett Chair of Planning)
Fangzhu Zhang (Associate Professor)
Nicholas Gallent (Professor of Housing and Planning)

• Wide ranging fieldwork in six case study cities, including interviews with local officials and developers, analysis of governance contexts and surveys of 3,000 homeowners.
• Creation of an evidence base on finance mechanisms in China.
• Dissemination of findings to Chinese stakeholders and also, through partnership, improved understanding among UK actors.