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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Since the early 1990s, China has built more megaprojects than any other country in the world. This chapter examines the economic and sociopolitical conditions in China that have made the massive investment and construction of megaprojects possible, such as the deregulatory reforms in the land and housing sector and the rise of local investment corporations for megaproject financing. The chapter also compares megaproject developments before and after 2008—a tumultuous year marking both the Beijing Olympics and a global economic recession. Before 2008, the hosting of mega-events often legitimized the construction of megaprojects. After 2008, the recession became the new legitimizing tool, as the Chinese government implemented a large stimulus program that directed more investment in infrastructural megaprojects. With the slowdown of the Chinese economy, many local governments today find themselves in deep debt from overinvestment in infrastructural megaprojects over the past two decades. Examples from Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou are used to illustrate the contested processes and mixed legacies of city building with megaprojects.

Keywords: economic recession, investment corporations, deregulatory reforms, mega-events, city building

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