Bite-sized learning, distilled insight.

In this module, Prof. Richard Hu (from the University of Canberra) explores how Chinese urban planners have used variations of "development zones" to not only promote higher rates of urbanization in China but as a tool to stimulate economic growth and innovation in Chinese cities as well. He traces the origins of China's first Special Economic Zone, established in Shenzhen in 1980, whose success marked a fundamental turning point for the Chinese economy. He then evaluates how these Special Economic Zones have evolved into Urban Development Zones and their impact on the contemporary urban landscape in China. Finally, he examines whether this model is relevant for other developing countries that are looking to replicate similar levels of growth in their cities.


  • 1

    Welcome! Let's begin:

    • A brief overview of this module:

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    Lecture Videos

    • VIDEO1: Urban Development Zones in China

    • VIDEO2: Evolution of Development Zones

    • VIDEO3: Government-led Marketization & Development Zones

    • VIDEO4: Impact of Development Zones

    • VIDEO5: Applicability of the China Model


Richard Hu

Richard Hu is an award-winning urban planner, and an educator and scholar. His work and interests—both intellectual and professional—integrate built environment, economy, and technology to address contemporary urban transformations and challenges, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. He is currently editing Routledge Handbook of Asian Cities, with contributions by more than 40 authors from around the world. This handbook is a bold, ambitious initiative to advance knowledge of and to inform policy making and planning for the development of Asian cities.