Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China
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Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China

Edited by Chia-Lin Chen, Haixiao Pan, Qing Shen and James J. Wang

Since 1978, when China embarked on a new period of economic reforms and introduced open door policies, it has experienced a great urban transformation. The role of transport has proved indispensable in this unprecedented rapid urbanisation and economic growth. As the first research-focused book dedicated to this important topic, the Handbook on Transport and Urban Transformation in China offers new insight into the various opportunities and challenges brought by fast-paced motorization and urban development, and explores them in broad spatial-economic, environmental, social, and institutional dimensions.
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Chapter 4: High-speed rail and its wider spatial-economic impact on transformation of Chinese cities and regions: a multi-level analysis

Chia-Lin Chen


The high-speed rail (HSR) phenomenon has occurred across Chinese cities and regions at an unprecedented speed. Beyond direct transport impacts such as train time saving and reliability, this chapter explores the wider spatial-economic impacts that are not automatic and need strategic planning interventions and time to transpire. The key question to be answered here is how the arrival of HSR has shaped urban development and what lessons could be drawn. The chapter begins with depicting a specific approach taken in developing HSR systems in the context of a rapid urbanization phenomenon in China. Second, a brief literature review is presented as a status quo to highlight the debate of wider impacts, both internationally and in China. Third, a case study of Suzhou, a prefecture-level city, is selected to discuss the empirical evidence of wider spatial-economic impacts from a lens of multiple levels. Based on the experience from Suzhou, key lessons and implications are drawn for future research and practice.

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