Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region: Regional Governance Under a Highly Centralized Political System

Beijing

City Profile:

Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China and the world's third most populous city proper. Second largest Chinese city by urban population with a total of 21.148 million within the municipality, of which 18.251 million resided in urban districts or suburban townships and 2.897 million lived in rural villages. Beijing's economy ranks among the most developed and prosperous in China. In 2013, the municipality's nominal GDP was CN¥1.95 trillion (US$314 billion).

Beijing


Authors:

Yan Tang is Associate Professor in the Urban Design and Planning Department at the School of Architecture at Tsinghua University, China. Her research, practice, and teaching span the intersection between architectural design and urban planning, and focus on large-scale urban design projects, spatial strategies for metropolitan regions, regional governance, and creative city development. She holds a Ph.D. in engineering in urban planning and design from Tsinghua University, China. At MIT, she will undertake research on urban governance and urban design strategies for responding to climate change.

Dong Yang is a master’s degree student in urban planning and design at the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University. His research fields are urban design, urban regeneration, and conservation of cultural heritage. He was a recipient of the National Scholarship and Merit Student in Beijing awards during his undergraduate study. Until now, he has finished three student research projects supported by the National Undergraduate Program for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Scientific Research and Entrepreneurial Program of Beijing for college students.

Kai Chen is a master’s degree student in urban planning and design at the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University. His research interests are urban land use planning, urban design, and application of GIS and remote sensing. He won second prize in the 2014 meili-international landscape and urban planning design competition, and selected awards in 2013 AIM competition and 2014 Think-Space competition. During his undergraduate study, he was awarded the Xuzhong scholarship, Xibang scholarship, and Top 10 on the youth honor roll in the School of Architecture at Tianjin University.

He Zhu is a master’s degree student in urban planning and design at the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University. His research interests are public policies in urban agglomeration, culture and creative industries, and urban regeneration. Zhu received a progress scholarship and PUBANG scholarship during his undergraduate studies. Currently, he holds the post of senior consultant and independent shareholder in Beijing Shanglianxinye Science and Technology Ltd, an enterprise working in high-tech investments.

 

 



Abstract:

With a population of over 100 million, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei metropolitan region (BTH) is now in the world media spotlight. This is not only due to its great development achievements over the past 20 years, but also its well known heavy smog, environmental pollution, and water shortage, which highlights the urgency of collaborative action in dealing with regional problems and in building an effective regional governance system in BTH. This paper analyzes the development problems grounded in China’s peculiar social, political, and economic context, and the BTH region’s special identity. Further it analyzes the regional power system, and roles of stakeholders, as well as regional initiatives and barriers of inter-municipal collaboration in BTH in order to explore the characteristics of the region’s governance mechanism. Under a highly centralized political system, the dilemmas, causes, and solutions for BTH’s regional governance are both discussed and interpreted.