Hannes Zander - Territorial Development Through the Lens of Landscape: Urban growth at China’s northwestern frontier and the transformation of local characteristics

 
Photo: Hannes Zander

Photo: Hannes Zander

The research project is an urban and landscape study in the historically and culturally rich region of Gansu Province in Northwestern China in the context of current urbanization and modernization efforts. The multi-scalar research aims to explain the discrepancy between superordinate policies and ambitious development plans that are enacted by the central government and handed down along a hierarchic chain of governance on one side, and a sensitive local context with complex patterns of environmental, cultural, and socio-economic realities that reacts and responds to these forces on the other side. The project wants to document how large urban infrastructure plans are implemented in a region and in specific places, how these projects are manifested and materialized on the ground and how different forces of political actors and economic interests transform local landscapes, both the natural environment as well as socio-cultural patterns. A research through multiple scales allows to connect specific places, people and materials to a larger context and explain their interconnection to the territory and geopolitical strategies such as the Belt and Road Initiative. The urban cluster of Lanzhou-Xining and the extended Hexi Corridor—route of the historic as well as the New Silk Road—is the region of investigation. Specific places of investigation, such as the satellite city of Lanzhou New Area, are selected within this region and allow to weave together different thematic threads. Qualitative data and visual documentation from fieldwork studies as well as interviews are the main sources of information in addition to remote sensing analysis and cartographic mapping. The thesis will be completed in monograph format.


Institute of Urbanism and Landscape / Karl Otto Ellefsen (Supervisor)

PhD started in 2018