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Analysis of Informal Dynamics in Mega Urban Areas – Based on Spatial Structure and Steering Mechanisms Focused on Water in the Pearl River Delta


Chinese cities became one of the most dynamic urban areas worldwide within last decades.
By economic liberalisation in some special economic zones the mega-urban area of Perl River Delta became one of the dynamic regions in China. Rapid economic growth and immense population pressure led to special structural characteristics and high environmental impacts. The interdisciplinary and international work group, composed by urban geography, hydrogeology and landscape architecture, provides new approaches for investigating the structures and the steering mechanisms of urban development. In order to reduce in a first step the complex processes related to the development of highly dynamic mega urban areas we take flows of the resource 'water' and water management as an example and, secondly, subdivide the large urban agglomeration into smaller units. Within these different types of 'urban cells' in-depth analysis of various socioeconomic, morphological and ecological structures as well as agency structures and mechanisms become feasible. The analysis of the informal influences on formal structures and the appropriate reciprocity between different 'urban cells' and their surrounding urban spaces respectively is intended to provide further knowledge about the actual processes and adapted governance systems in the overall mega urban area. The analysis of these processes will be related to water resources in terms of quality and quantity aspects.

Major Goals

Research Objectives

Research Team

RWTH Aachen University, Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering, Dept. of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

RWTH Aachen University, Faculty of Architecture, Dept. of Landscape Architecture

University of Kiel, Department of Geography