Image 2018 RSA Global Conference in China, Beijing, China

Date and location

  •   June 29, 2018 - July 1, 2018
  •   Yingjie Exchange Center, Peking University (北京大学英杰交流中心), Beijing, China, China

Click here to register

Conference details


The long-term development paths of cities and regions are shaped by a never-ending process of restructuring, with some cities and regions achieving fast growth over long period while others lock into a trajectory of relative and sometimes absolute decline. Nonetheless, in some cases, some lagging regions and cities find renewed growth and previously vibrant cities and regions may lose momentum. It appears that economic restructuring benefit some cities and regions and puts others at a disadvantage. The set of existing economic, political, and also social and cultural activities and functions in a city or region is important in this regard, and will determine whether a city or region can be at the forefront of such restructurings, can position itself to benefit from new rounds of investment and innovation, and can achieve more sustainable development, or instead will lose out and become marginalized. The variety in the development of cities and regions in the context of constant restructuring in the economy defies predictions of a clear-cut convergence or divergence, and instead leads to an intricate pattern of uneven development depending on a multitude of factors. Such combined and uneven development between cities and regions has of course long been a central research topic within economic geography, regional science and urban studies.

The emergence of China is one of the main drivers of the restructuring of the world economy, although it faces challenges as it seeks to restructure its own model of development and industrialization by embracing more sustainable and regionally balanced development and urbanization. This conference took place in Peking University in Beijing, China – a city or region facing challenges of industrial upgrading, air pollution and diseconomies of agglomeration, although it is already one of the most developed region or city in China.

The aim of this conference was to think about how to better conceptualize and empirically explore the development of (and between) cities and regions in the context of a new round of restructuring in the world economy, triggered by the 2007/8 global economic crisis. This was particularly timely for several reasons. First, cities and city-regions had assumed increasing prominence over the last few decades in discussions about economic development, and with this there was a renewed interest in explaining deep-rooted differences in performance. Second, evolutionary perspectives and transitions to sustainable development had established themselves as key reference points in theorizing current economic, social and environmental challenges. Yet more work needed to be done to further develop these conceptual advances for understanding the long-term development of cities and regions and the necessary spatial governance, and for working out relevant policy implications. Finally, even though some studies, both qualitative and quantitative, had emerged in recent years, most studies had had a limited geographical reach, particularly on the US and Europe. Consequently, there appeared scope for work on the global south and emerging economies, and more importantly, for improved interaction between scholars from different parts of the world.

The contributions explored, but were not limited to the following issues:

  • Eco civilization
  • Urban clusters
  • Mega city development and metropolitan regions
  • New economy
  • Urban and regional development
  • One belt, one road
  • Global-local: globalization and development
  • Urban-rural integration
  • Inclusive urban and regional development
  • Territorial inequality, social justice and cohesion
  • Sustainable land use policies and practices
  • Urban and regional development policy and governance: role of institutions
  • Real estate- and production-driven economy
  • New industrialization and specialization strategies in peripheral regions
  • Urban and regional theory, methodology and data
  • Governance, institutions and civil society
  • Developing area studies and the peripheral regions
  • Agglomeration, clusters and externalities
  • Urban redevelopment and the remaking of cities
  • Urban development and urban governance
  • Social and cultural transformations in regional and urban development
  • Mega region
  • Regional environmental issues
  • Regional planning
  • Tourism and regional development.



Conference Organisers

Local Organising Committee:
Professor Canfei He, Peking University, China
Professor Weidong Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Dr. Shengjun Zhu, Peking University, China
Dr. Xin Tong, Peking University, China
Dr. Zhouying Song, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

RSA Organiser – Lesa Reynolds:

Related Documents

More information

How to get there

Yingjie Exchange Center, Peking University (北京大学英杰交流中心), Beijing, China