DOI: 10.19830/j.upi.2018.079
Principle of Subsidiarity in the Organization of Urban Settlement Improvement Programs: International Practice and Domestic Exploration

Guo Leixian, Wu Weijia

Keywords: Settlement Improvement Program; Subsidiarity; Public Investment; Spatial Governance; EU Urban Community Initiative


Currently, urban settlement improvement programs are widely promoted in China. As seen from the overseas experiences, the involvement of social capital and supra-local organizations in urban affairs alleviates the pressure on urban public resources that is due to the fiscal austerity of local governments. There has evolved a project management model of urban settlement improvement policy based on the ‘subsidiarity’ principle, of which EU’s Urban Community Initiative is a typical representative. Using an incentive and monitoring mechanism, this model guarantees the power of local authorities and the performance of public investment. In contrast, China’s relevant policies are usually implemented from top to bottom within the administration system, but some recent practices have indicated the emergence of ‘subsidiarity’. Through investigating the community enhancement program in M District in Shanghai, this paper found that the project management structure based on ‘subsidiarity’ can  adapt to the institutional environment of Chinese cities and obtain good implementation results. As a conclusion, such mode has reference signification to the modernization of China’s regional and urban governance, as well as community level  implementation.


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