The ‘Collaborative Planning Turn’ in China : Exploring three decades of diffusion, interpretation and reception in Chinese planning

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number103210
Journal / PublicationCities
Online published15 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


The collaborative planning idea (CPI) received wide attention from Chinese academics and planners when it was introduced in the late 1990s. The ongoing socio-economic transition in China has provided a fertile ground to accept, accommodate and develop CPI, exemplifying a transnational flow of planning ideas from the Anglosphere towards the non-English-speaking world. While the reception of CPI in China initiated three decades ago, the diffusion, interpretation, reception, and impacts of it are as yet understudied. To fill this gap, this article adopts a three-part step analysis: diffusion, interpretation and reception (in practice). Though inspired by Western scholars such as Healey and Innes, Chinese scholars may also be influenced by the unique governance context of China, as well as their own research backgrounds and interests, as they seek to (re)conceptualise CPI within a Chinese context, and therefore, specific interpretations of CPI in China mark distinctions from original works (e.g. mixing up collaborative planning and communicative planning and over-emphasising public participation). In practice, CPI is more operational at the macro- and micro-level non-statutory planning rather than meso-level statutory planning. However, recent attempts have been made to institutionalise CPI and facilitate the potential of extending the collaborative approach into statutory planning or beyond the realm of traditional planning.

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese urban planning, Innovation diffusion, Theory and practice, Transnational flow of planning ideas, Travelling ideas