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GIS Development in China’s Urban Governance: A Case Study of Shenzhen

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wen Lin


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Government agencies have been an important actor in using GIS and other information technologies across the world. However, contextual examinations of government GIS practices over time remain sparse in the existing GIScience research. Furthermore, non-Western experiences are largely absent. In particular, China has experienced significant growth of using GIS in its urban government amidst its rapid urbanization and booming economy. This paper thus seeks to provide an in-depth investigation of the case of Shenzhen City, one of the China’s leading cities in urban government GIS development. In this paper, I propose a synthesized theoretical framework drawing upon critical GIS research and GIS implementation studies. Specifically, I analyze the role of broader social conditions, local contextual factors and organizational characteristics in shaping GIS development in Shenzhen’s urban governance. I also illustrate the three major transformations of GIS development in Shenzhen’s planning agency over the past decade. My research demonstrates that GIS development in Chinese urban governance has been influenced not only by the instrumental functions of GIS, but also by the interactions and relationships among different actors and institutions with various vested interests in the process of structuring and governing the urban spaces. This study will contribute to the ongoing discussion of understanding the interwoven relationship between GIS and society in GIScience research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lin W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Transactions in GIS

Year: 2008

Volume: 12

Issue: 4

Pages: 493-514

ISSN (print): 1361-1682

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9671

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9671.2008.01112.x


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