2021 – 2024
The spatial politics of global interdependency: Chinese Large-scale corporate investments and small town development in Eastern Germany
Global infrastructure investments and its related domestic and foreign economic developments continue to be on the rise, inexorably challenging and reconfiguring the planetary relationship between cities, regions, states and market-led development. Within these multiple entangled processes, transnationally operating enterprises have grown to key actors in shaping and restructuring urban spaces under conditions of contemporary globalisation. Over the past five years, there has been an increase in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), especially with focus on rural and peripheral areas across the new federal states of Germany. Here, among others, Chinese corporates play an increasingly important role.
The PhD thesis takes this as a reference point to examine the interwoven and conditional interplay between Chinese FDIs and its actual local-regional transformations on-site. Therefore, the project takes large-scale corporate investments in Arnstadt (Free State of Thuringia) as a starting point to engage with three main layers of investigation: 1) the local-global interrelationship between corporate investments on-site and its wider entanglements along entire value chains worldwide with the aim of unlocking a broader understanding of the inter-scalar and trans-sectoral complexity of globally networked investments and their spatial manifestation in the Arnstadt region; 2) investigating the political and administrative structures that have been crucial for the strategic coupling between selected corporates and European, national, state and/ or local decision-makers to better understand how corporate investments and urban-regional planning processes are interrelated; 3) investigating the concrete socio-spatial impacts with the aim of creating a comprehensive understanding of how exactly the strategic coupling behind corporate investments has been approached, further shaped and/ or resisted by selected actor-groups on-site.