The Dalian Port Cluster: Spatial Practice of the One Belt One Road Initiative

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The Chinese government is heavily investing in trade-related infrastructure with its One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), a proposal to build a new Silk Road or network of trade routes. This infrastructure-driven innovation will have a large economic, spatial and environmental impact on China; it is also likely to transform entire regions throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. In pursuing it, the Chinese government seeks to meaningfully combine a strong national interest in infrastructural and economic development with an equally strong national interest in environmental sustainability. This chapter explores how it might meet both goals. How do the initiative's many projects intersect with local interests and needs in China? Will these investments carry out the proclaimed desire of the Chinese government for environmentally sustainable development? This chapter examines these questions by looking at how various governmental players are translating these investments and proposals into spatial plans. It focuses on port city regions, using the Dalian region in Northeast China, one of the OBOR Initiative hubs, as an example. Port regions are key spatial components in the OBOR initiative: as infrastructural hubs and as centres for trade and innovation, as sites of national oil storage, or hubs for the development of new maritime technology. As places where the industrial production and long-distance infrastructure of OBOR encounters densely populated areas, they are also particularly at risk from climate change, including rising sea levels. Thus, the OBOR Initiative’s goals of economic improvement and environmental sustainability may well collide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-354
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Transport Development and Integration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventMaritime Transport 2019 - Faculty of Civil and Industrial Engineering University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ Via Eudossiana, 18, Roma, Italy
Duration: 10 Sep 201912 Sep 2019


  • Dalian
  • economic
  • environment
  • one belt and one road
  • planning
  • port cluster
  • responsible.


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