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Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 496; doi:10.3390/su9040496

Economic City Branding in China: the Multi-Level Governance of Municipal Self-Promotion in the Greater Pearl River Delta

Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 20 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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In the urban development policy in China, city brands play an important role in setting targets for Chinese cities. These economic city brands, however, are not produced in an institutional vacuum: they are embedded in the visions national, provincial and municipal governments have for these cities, i.e., on multi-level governance. In this paper, a data-intense analysis of economic city branding practices has been conducted in the Greater Pearl River Delta, taking into account national, provincial and municipal documents in socio-economic, urban and land use planning. Evidence of economic and ecological initiatives through branding at the level of symbolic urban projects, such as new towns, has also been examined. It transpires that Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have adopted more sophisticated economic brand identities than the others and the reflection of brand-related targets from their actual projects is also more credible. While China’s national plans focus primarily on Hong Kong and Macau, provincial documents place more emphasis on the wealthier cities on the mainland (Shenzhen and Guangzhou). The other cities attract less attention and have more freedom to adopt economic city brands, but their efforts to live up to their promise are quite limited due to their weak financial position. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic city branding; multi-level governance; city profile; China; new towns economic city branding; multi-level governance; city profile; China; new towns

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lu, H.; de Jong, M.; Chen, Y. Economic City Branding in China: the Multi-Level Governance of Municipal Self-Promotion in the Greater Pearl River Delta. Sustainability 2017, 9, 496.

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