- Research paper
Habitat International, January 2014, Pages 50–57. The urban entrepreneurialism literature on China has focused either on macro-level state devolution or on micro-level place-making initiatives. Little has been written on the meso-level question of how the mode of regulation in general or institutional reforms in particular have worked to forge China's state-led urban growth by reshaping the state-market relationship. Through an investigation of China's crisis-induced fiscal and land use reforms since the mid-1990s, this paper argues that piecemeal, gradualist reform has transformed local states from protectionist market actors to investment promoters with monopoly power over land markets. Though this shift has supported entrepreneurial urban growth driven by manufacturing and real estate investment, it also tends to aggravate inter-regional and urban-rural tensions. As a country in transition that faces multiple challenges, China needs more holistic reform framework for sustainable growth.