The research topics of the Low Growth, Resilient Cities team are informed by the crises of declining economic activity and employment that industrial cities currently face. Industrial cities of East Asia were shaped through the context of Cold War geopolitics and developmental states, which worked as drivers for economic growth in each country. However, as global economic restructuring rapidly took over the everyday life of cities, the viability of the growth-oriented frame for industrial cities has become unsustainable. Using the lens of “de-growth,” our research seeks new strategies to revive industrial cities. We work to challenge the competition trap of rapid growth-oriented productivism and instead pursue a value shift in the urban economy in which the resilience of urban communities is prioritized.
Our research has spanned the following three research topics for the past four years. First, we have looked at the formation and development processes of East Asian industrial cities, along with the economic and geopolitical forces that structured these processes. Understanding the historical paths of industrialization and urbanization provides a starting point for seeking a transformation towards resilience. Second, we have examined the current economic structure of East Asian industrial cities. In terms of structure, the danger of declining industrial cities means that structurally rigid economic activities fixated on growth alone become exposed to the shocks of rapid economic restructuring without buffers. Lastly, we seek a governance system to make transition to a viable, dynamic, resilient industrial structure and corresponding new division of labor. The transition to an economically resilient city requires the preemptive prevention of rapid structural shocks as well as restructuring the interests of diverse actors interests within a de-growth frame.
The Geopolitical Economy of the Formation and Development of East Asian Industrial Cities
How has the Cold War geopolitical network influenced the formation, development, and transformation of East Asian industrial cities?
What forces at the state-local scale have shaped the formation and growth of East Asian industrial cities, and how have these forces worked?
Dynamics of the Revival and Transformation of East Asian Industrial Cities
What are the structural risks that East Asian cities face, and what possible opportunities and limits do they have in responding to these risks?
In terms of industrial structure and governance, what changes do East Asian industrial cities need to implement in order to transform into resilient cities?