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Megalopolis Unbound and Innovative: Knowledge Collaboration Within and Beyond the Yangtze River Delta Region of China

Li, Y; (2017) Megalopolis Unbound and Innovative: Knowledge Collaboration Within and Beyond the Yangtze River Delta Region of China. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Since Gottmann published his pioneering work on megalopolises in 1957, the significance of the concept has been recognized over the last six decades. The concept has inspired a variety of terms used to describe large-scale urbanized forms – such as ‘mega-city regions’, ‘megaregions’ and ‘polycentric urban regions’. Despite the recent resurgent interest in these terms, the two key features that Gottmann (1961, 1976) ascribed to megalopolises have been often neglected in recent literature - their being the ‘hub’ that links national to international urban systems and the ‘incubator’ within national urban systems. In this research, I reconsider the two defining but often overlooked functions of megalopolises by analyzing how megalopolises have articulated national and international urban systems in a globalizing knowledge economy. Taking the case of China’s Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region, I particularly focus upon intercity knowledge collaboration within and beyond this region during the 2000-2014 period. This is divided into two objectives: 1) what are the macro-level patterns and processes of knowledge collaboration at different geographical scales; 2) how have the patterns and processes been affected by micro-level proximity between economic entities. Here scientific knowledge collaboration and technological knowledge collaboration are distinguished with data drawn from the Web of Science and the World Intellectual Property Organization databases respectively. In general, the structure of knowledge collaboration has been functionally polycentric at the megalopolitan scale but become less so at the national and global scales. The ‘globally connected but locally disconnected’ pattern of Shanghai’s external knowledge collaboration suggests that the hinge role of the YRD megalopolis in knowledge collaboration will take time before it is fully realized. Drawing upon information obtained from email surveys of authors, identification of applicant relationships of co-patents, and interviews with identified patent applicants, the micro-level mechanism analysis reveals that mobility of academics mainly accounts for scientific knowledge collaboration whereas multinational enterprises, Chinese domestic firms, universities and research institutes, and the ‘new Argonaut’-like people contribute to technological knowledge collaboration. However, their roles differ in knowledge collaboration at different geographical scales, which also helps explain the underplayed hinge role of the YRD megalopolis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Megalopolis Unbound and Innovative: Knowledge Collaboration Within and Beyond the Yangtze River Delta Region of China
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: Megalopolis, Knowledge collaboration, Urban networks, Gateway, Yangtze River Delta Region, China
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1565443
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