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12 MAR 2021 (FRI) 17:30

Rethinking the city and innovation: A political economic view from China's biotech


Meeting ID: 925 0214 9362

Password: 478622

All are welcome!


Dr Fangzhu Zhang Associate Professor, University College London

Dr Fangzhu Zhang is Associate Professor in The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. Her main research interests focus on innovation and governance; urban village redevelopment and migrant integration in China; and eco-innovation and eco-city development in China. She has been involved in several research projects funded by the EU innovation programme (on Finance access); ESRC/DFID (on Chinese urban villages); the British Academy (China’s innovation and governance; Chinese informal settlements; China’s eco-city planning); RTPI (on China planning); the Leverhulme Trust (Urban China Research International Network) and EPSRC (global engagement on UK-China sustainable cities). She has published articles widely in leading international journals.


The city is arguably where innovations concentrate. Agglomeration and diversity are two major explanations for why innovations concentrate in the city. Existing studies tend to focus on knowledge dynamics, in particular interfirm networks, while paying insufficient attention to the process of urban development in which knowledge dynamics are materialized. We concur that the city itself does not possess such a power for innovation (Shearmur, 2012). Rather, it is an arena where various actors exert impacts on knowledge dynamics. In a view from China, we reveal why bio-tech innovations concentrate in particular places and what political economic processes contribute to such concentration. We highlight the need for a political economic analysis in economic geographical studies of innovation.

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