The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) since 2013 has forged a new spatio-economic connection between China and Europe through the older transport technology of freight trains. Since 2011 when the first China-Europe freight train reached Duisburg in Germany from the megacity of Chongqing in southwestern China, the number of trains and routes have multiplied into diverse and frequent services carrying containerized goods between a large number of regionally varied Chinese cities and major European urban centers. In this talk, Professor Chen will examine China’s motivation and rationale for launching the China-Europe Freight Train as a large-scale connective infrastructure project and the opportunities and challenges for its implementation. In addition, he will assess the local impacts of this set of transnational or trans-border transport routes on selected cities in China’s inland and border regions.
Xiangming Chen served as the founding Director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies at Trinity College from 2007 to 2019 and is currently Paul Raether Distinguished Professor of Global Urban Studies and Sociology at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University in Shanghai and the Graduate School of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China. He has published extensively on globalization, cities, and economic development. His (co)authored and co-edited books include: As Borders Bend: Transnational Spaces on the Pacific Rim (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), Shanghai Rising: State Power and Local Transformations in a Global Megacity (University of Minnesota Press, 2009; Chinese edition, 2009), and Global Cities, Local Streets: Everyday Diversity from New York to Shanghai (Routledge, 2015; Chinese edition 2016; Korean edition 2017). He has conducted policy research for UNCTAD, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and OECD.