Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 247–260 | Cite as

Articulating China’s Science and Technology: Knowledge Collaboration Networks Within and Beyond the Yangtze River Delta Megalopolis in China

  • Yingcheng Li
  • Nicholas A. Phelps


In this paper, we reconsider the defining but often overlooked ‘hinge’ function of megalopolises by analyzing how megalopolises have articulated national and international urban systems in the context of a globalizing knowledge economy. Taking the case of China’s Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region, we particularly focus on knowledge circulation within and beyond the YRD region by analyzing the pattern and process of knowledge collaboration at different geographical scales during the 2004–2014 period. Results show that the structure of scientific knowledge collaboration as reflected by co-publications has been strongest at the national scale whereas that of technological knowledge collaboration as measured by co-patents has been strongest at the global scale. Despite this difference, the structure of both scientific and technological knowledge collaboration has been functionally polycentric at the megalopolitan scale but become less so at the national and global scales. The ‘globally connected but locally disconnected’ pattern of Shanghai’s external knowledge collaboration suggests that the gateway role of the YRD megalopolis in promoting knowledge collaboration at different geographical scales will take time before it is fully realized.


urban network publication patent scale gateway Yangtze River Delta (YRD) 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ArchitectureSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Bartlett School of PlanningUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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