A great leap of faith...

20th Jul 2017

A great leap of faith: Limits to China’s university cities

A new paper by Chun-Yi Sum is now available online.  This paper is part of a forthcoming Special Issue on People and Plans in Urbanising China


This paper examines the emergence of China’s ‘university cities’ (daxuecheng) as a governmental strategy to modernise higher education and to promote its socio-economic integration. To the disappointment of policy makers, the model of university cities has largely failed to yield satisfactory educational outcomes and economic productivity. Drawing from ethnographic research at the Higher Education Mega Center (HEMC) in the suburb of Guangzhou City, this paper analyses the characteristics and problems of China’s university cities. It discusses how various disjunctures between planners’ visions and students’ everyday experiences undermine the missions of university cities: Universities intended to reinforce the reputation and growth potential of cities overestimated the need for such facilities; students rejected the vision of isolated education enclaves as a style of living; and productive connections with research and development sectors were not realised.

You can access and read the full article here

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