PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (9): 1677-1687.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.09.010

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Scalar traps in the coordinated development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area

LIU Yungang1,2(), ZHANG Jixing1, WANG Fenglong1,2,*()   

  1. 1. School of Geography & The Center of Administrative Division and Spatial Governance, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. Beidou Research Institute, South China Normal University, Foshan 528225, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2022-01-21 Revised:2022-06-22 Online:2022-09-28 Published:2022-11-28
  • Contact: WANG Fenglong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42142028);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171225);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42071187);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971210);Shanghai Soft Science Project(20692108500)


Regional coordinated development is one of the important goals of China's regional development strategy and also the core issue of human geography research in China. Existing studies on regional coordinated development are mainly based on three theoretical strands: the first one is based on the paradigm of regional geography and emphasizes the homogeneity within a region, such as regional industrial zoning and major function oriented zoning; the second one is based on location theory, "pole-axis" spatial system, and territorial-production complexes and underlines the functional complementation within the region, such as the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the strategy for large-scale development of western China; the third one is based on the theories of regional governance, space of flows, and city networks and highlights the functional linkages and cooperation within the region, such as the strategies of integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). However, few studies have adopted the theories in political geography and most of the arguments in previous studies are limited to the regional scale. Based on the dilemma faced by regional coordinated development and recent progress in scale theory, this study takes the GBA as an example to analyze the scalar traps faced by regional coordinated development, such as the scalar range of functional positioning of the region, the choice of its own scale form, and the scalar politics among various actors. This article holds that the coordinated development of the GBA involves functional positioning at different scales, complex scale forms, and interest gaming at multiple scales, and the process of regional coordinated development and the omnipresence of many contradictions must be fully taken into consideration in empirical analysis and policy design. By comparing the results of multi-scale empirical analysis and scheme design, we can avoid the trap of scalar mismatch and scalar politics by promoting active and effective innovation in the institutional system and the development model. This article contributes to the literature by enhancing the theoretical discussions of regional coordinated development and enriching the application of the theory of scalar traps in regional studies.

Key words: regional coordinated development, scalar traps, politics of scale, political geography, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area