Collaborative planning has three assumptions, namely of democratic institutions, neutral power and communicative rationality. These assumptions should clearly be questioned in the Chinese context, due to the specific institutions and the challenging nature of power relations. Therefore, this project develops three novel tracks for examination and reconceptualization of collaborative planning. The first will analyse how Chinese policies, planning systems, and culture influence the interactive processes and whether new institutional capital is created during the processes. The second will analyse different types of power relations between various actors, especially generated by online social networking sites. The third will identify diverse forms of online public spheres and how they interact with offline public spheres to affect collaborative planning.
This interdisciplinary project will also apply recent theorizing and approaches in the fields of media studies, network science, and political science into urban planning. It will employ an innovative mixed methods approach combining fieldwork, critical discourse analysis, web scraping, computer-assisted content analysis, social network analysis, and statistical modeling to research a wide range of case studies in several Chinese cities.