Discussion on regional differences and development paths of urbanization Models in the Pearl River Delta region under the background of integration of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area


  • Ziwen Luo Tongji University




With the development of globalization and economic integration, the pattern of the world's division of production is changing. The Bay Area, as a large nucleus of economic growth poles, plays an important role in facilitating regional participation in the global economic cycle and high-quality urbanization development. In 2019, the government published the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which means the development of urbanization in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region has entered a new phase. The traditional region's urbanization Model can be divided into Dongguan Model and Foshan Model (Foshan Model was divided into Shunde Model and Nanhai Model). Based on the background, this study analyzes the geographical differences between the two models, and then explores the future development path of urbanization.

The study finds four differences in urbanization patterns, the first is the initial impetus of urbanization. Dongguan Model relied on foreign investment and technology, Shunde Model was mainly financed by government guarantees for bank loans, and Nanhai Model was financed by the villagers collectively. Second, different Models have their own unique urbanization paths. Dongguan Model relies on well-developed foreign enterprises to drive the development of private enterprises. Most of the private enterprises in the Shunde model were transformed from township enterprises. Nanhai model is to concentrate collective property and land into shares and lease them to enterprises through share cooperative organizations. Finally, the region faces the following urbanization dilemmas: In terms of the administrative system, Dongguan City has a two-tier administrative system of "city-township", which is characterized by homogenized competition among towns and dysfunctional regional governance. Shunde and Nanhai were incorporated into Foshan City after the district for county, so that the management level of Foshan City is mainly concentrated at the district and township level rather than the city level, and there is a conflict in the management structure with the neighboring cities. Then the core scientific research strength of ndustrial system needs to be improved. Urban space also faces many problems, the intensity of land development in Dongguan City and Foshan City has reached the limit of the environment. Urban land use is fragmented with no “strong center” area, which is unable to adapt to the land demand of new industries. Beyond that, the level and scope of services provided by the support facilities are very limited.

The following paths can be referred to for the future development of the PRD region. Firstly,  always put people first. Paying attention to population flows and group needs, optimizing the urban land layout, perfecting the construction of the support facilities system and so on. Secondly, insisting Science, technology and innovation oriented: adjusting the current industrial structure, and improving the core research and development strength. Furthermore, emphasizing on sustainable development: protecting, restoring and conserving ecological resources. Last but not least, emphasizing regional coordination: taking metropolitan areas and city clusters as the core growth poles and accelerating the circulation of factors such as population, information, and capital.


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