Keynote Speakers

Prof. Klaus R. Kunzmann

Prof. Emeritus Klaus R. Kunzmann

Technical University of Dortmund



Short CV:

Klaus R. Kunzmann is Professor emeritus, of the School of Planning of the Universität Dortmund, honorary professor of the Bartlett School of Planning at the University College London and a visiting professor of Dong Nam University in Nanjing/China. He is an elected member of the German Academy of Spatial Planning (ARL) a honorary member of the European Association of Planning Schools (AESOP) and of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI in London. Since his retirement in 2006 he is residing in Potsdam/Germany, travelling frequently to China and relentlessly writing on territorial planning in Europe and China, regional restructuring in the Ruhr, on the role of culture in urban development, and on creative, knowledge and smart city development. In 2018 he had been invited by the University of Thessaly in Volos to give a few lectures on his explorations into current challenges of urban development and planning. 


Title: China & Europe: A difficult relationship and what this has to do with spatial development in Europe


In recent years, competing with the United States, China has emerged as an economic world power. Europe, in contrast, weakened by populist movements and internal political conflicts is gradually loosing influence and power. This makes it easy for the Chinese Government to expand its economic and cultural influence in Europe. Chinese enterprises are increasingly buying-up stakes in European corporations and providing digital services to European governments and cities. Overproducing state-owned industries in the country are searching worldwide for new markets. This is behind the Belt & Road initiative, which the Chinese government initiated in 2013.The initiative aims to link China to Europe and Africa by strategic acquisition of stakes in ports and infrastructure, by cheap loans to governments, by assistance in developing new transport, energy and digital infrastructure, by giving scholarships and by spreading Chinese language and cultural values. The implications for cities and regions in Europe

may still be marginal, but are increasingly affecting local politics. For cites like Piraeus in Greece or Duisburg in Germany, the Chinese initiative has become a hope for the local economy, but also a challenge for future urban and regional development. The market-driven and hidden neo-colonial development of the Chinese Government will certainly continue, even though governments in Europe have started to make it more difficult to Chinese investors to buy–up enterprises and offer their innovative digital services. National or even local vested interests, however, will open the doors without considering the impacts for local industries and employment in cities and regions targeted by Chinese investors. Exploring and carefully monitoring the implications of the Chinese initiative on urban and regional development in an increasingly polarizing political environment is therefore required.


To be completed

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