Fildwork_ 22, April, 2010: Some thoghts on Soil Pollution—living in a toxic cluster?

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate, waste industries | No Comments »

This post just recorded an interview to an ex-specialist in Chinese Environmental Protections Authority and personal fieldwork on 22 April, 2010. In Ningbo, some residential clusters and creative industries clusters are built on the site which used to be factories that facing the risk of polluted soil.

 There are some key problems I observed.  First of all, there are no clear standards for soil background survey before the land used to be rebuilt. In additional, the ‘Polluter pays’ principle needed to be improved  to specify the responsibilities between the former and current users of the polluted land as well as to specify the roles of  different local government departments(Urban planning and construction authorities, Environmental Protection Bureau and the Health Bureau ). Case study will be done for Land of Beijiao Road 151, Ningbo developed by Younger Group for a high-end cluster. Another factor is the lack of public awareness. Especial in a crazy hot time for real estate, consumers don’t have any background knowledge and choices to evaluate the overall conditions of the property before they invest. Although there is little voice trying to question the environmental issues, most investors don’t realize they are in a big risk living/working in a toxic cluster. The aftereffect will be obvious in coming years.

Calls for improvement will focus on policy making and powerful implementation from local governmental level. Developers (companies) should also take responsibility in dealing with the polluted land including background survey before construction and controlling new pollution for the new clusters which are legal and moral requirement for responsible developers. In addition, idea of Environmental Insurance is useful for companies in the case when pollutions happen. Last but not at least would be that public education and media release will help raise the public awareness which might lead to campaigns by buyers or local civil society

Reference Mr. Tang Shiming, Interview on 22 April, 2010

website on China environmental law

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

How academic resource/ knowledge contribute to local communities

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »    is the link (in Chinese)of one major NGO on environmental protection in East China–Green Zhejiang Associations which is

  •  engaged in public educations, children and students green summer camp and other social campaigns for EP.
  •   issues a quarterly Green Newsletter which supposed to be the only one organization to do so
  •  The team has also close networking with local mainstream media.
  •  Members included university students, individual EP specialists and some organizations.
  • used to be funded by several international and national Funds.

We can work together to arrange a lecture/speech on E-waste as in Topic  3  in our lectures to share the ideas with members there  some time in the coming months that our ideas might become their next campaign (Not sure July is suitable for its summer vocation for some students in the university, TBC)

Knowledge sharing and transformation to practice is a good  start for academic birds’ effort striving  for a better environment.

Fieldwork_02, April 2010: Why most cities like Ningbo need creative industries?

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate | No Comments »

The Urban-Media Networks team visited Ningbo Hefeng Creative Cluster and later the Fortune Creation Cluster on 2nd April, 2010.  The initiate aims of the trips were to find out ‘the winners’ and ‘the losers’ in CI; the relationship between CI and Real- Estate industries (HOPSCA, Hotel+Office+Parking+Shopping+Convention+Apartment); and how the investment finance.


Old factory, new economics

Creative industries have become the most favorite baby for local government and developers in the process of urbanization. One of the main reasons is Promoting Creative Industries is one of Ningbo municipal government’s strategies in industrial optimization. Another factor will be there is a big cake for industrial design.  According to a study, there is about 1,000 million (Chinese Yuan) demand for industrial design from Ningbo which contributed to other markets as Shanghai and Beijing due to lack of local competent design companies. In addition, there is a closer link with Real estate (esp. with a hot term as HOPSCA). In Hefeng, as the interviews briefed, besides studios for designers, there will also be other facilities as a fine hotel, offices, shopping areas, nice place as Cafe’s for designers’ network functions’”, apartments and etc. Same stories as we can see in Fortune Creative Cluster although it now looks like a shopping mall rather than what it supposed to be.

'All in one' HOPSCA

Hefeng Creative Cluster is a stated-own project. It’s financed by governmental investment which according to the interviewee that’ we won’t expect we can make a finance balance within 15-20 years ’. Anyway, we can still see some evidences for it’s a good deal in a long-term period, such as the land value increase, the cash flow from rentals and other service provide, relevant opportunities arise from the business named as CI… (More research on why Ningbo needs HOPSCA)

One of the advantages of Hefeng Cluster includes Good location-really downtown, good river view. Facilities like the Shell-Shaped T- Show hall, with big place and professional facilities which is another selling point to its target local clients. Textile\clothing companies as Younger, Romon, and Peace Bird showed their interests to it. According to their sales, key target customers include other big manufacturers in stationary and sound equipments.


Can a model be built to a real one?

Challenges being observed here including Market segmentation and strong competition from other newly set up CI clusters. Lack of Professional management which differ from the current system in residential real-estate management

Some Studios/Companies have started business here...

Learning for the field trips

  1. Find out sufficient and proper interviewees. This really a big challenge and a must preparation before the visit. For instant, this time we can not find someone speaks for ‘losers’ …
  2. Ability to control site visit and interview-to is flexible. Some designed questions can not be answered on spot.
  3. Teamwork and time management. Team members   contributed to schedule making and arrangement to this first trip which is really a treasure and learning process for the next trips.

 Issues to be followed up on the topic

  1. The Hefeng Cluster used to be factories and how the former workers relocated?
  2. What other losers find frustrated when they face the new cluster (Aged people who have to move to places far away)?
  3. To what level the small investors in the cluster loosing money, like people buying small offices but cannot find enough tenants in the Fortune Creative Cluster?

Logistics as a Technology of Governance and Measure

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, logistics, maritime industries, theory | No Comments »

The primary task of the global logistics industry is to manage the movement of people and things in the interests of communication, transport and economic efficiencies. Central to logistics is the question and scope of governance – both of labouring subjects and the treatment of objects or things. One of the key ways in which logistics undertakes such work is through the application of technologies of measure, the database and spreadsheet being two of the most common instruments of managerial practice. In the age of cognitive capitalism, new sites of struggle are emerging. Everyone, in short, has the capacity to be produced as creative labour, since the measure of economic value shifts from a logic of scarcity (IPRs) to one of aggregation, recombination and storage that corresponds to the materiality of digital information and social production of value.

See: Neilson, Brett and Rossiter, Ned (forthcoming 2010) ‘Still Waiting, Still Moving: On Migration, Logistics and Maritime Industries‘, in David Bissell and Gillian Fuller (eds) Stillness in a Mobile World, London and New York: Routledge.

Related fieldwork questions:
How would you summarise the work of your company?

Is your trade or business predominantly or largely transnational or is mostly within China? If it’s transnational, does that mean between Europe, the US and China, or does it mean something more regional: East and South Asia perhaps?

Are there differences in supply chain integration depending on whether your business serves foreign or domestic markets? If your company engages both domestic and foreign markets, does this lead to any conflicts in how supply chains are integrated?

If your business is transnational is there a disconnect between Chinese suppliers and Western buyers in terms of business expectations? In other words, how does culture play into the movement of commodities and communication with clients?

How do you understand logistics?

To what extent does logistics impact upon the economy or profitability of your company?

Are there cases or instances when supply chain quality can ever be sacrificed to maintain deals or whether solid deals result in the solid execution of logistics integration? Is the emphasis on getting paid or on supply chain innovation? Or are there tensions here?

If your business is prepared to live with performance gaps for the sake of deals what are the implications for labour performance measurement?

What sort of software programs do you use to measure KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) databases?

What sort of time cycle operates with these KPIs – is it an hourly measure or maybe daily or even monthly? Or perhaps it’s a by-the-minute sort of measure on how products and activities are moving along supply chains?

Do you know if workers in your company ever feel under stress to ensure they meet daily KPI targets?

What happens if they don’t meet KPI targets? Are any disciplinary measures taken?

How does the company deal with hold ups in supply chains by partner associates? Are you aware of such holdups via information from the KPIs or ERPs?

Local Policy on E-waste management( in Chinese)

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

1. policy published in Ningbo Environmental Protection Bureau. See Chapter 5

2. Essay on” E-waste in China’

Field Trip_E-Waste Industries_20100409

Posted: April 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, waste industries | No Comments »

On 9th April, Ned and UMN team scheduled a second field trip for the e-waste topic. Since unfamiliar with e-waste industries at the very beginning, we have done the preparation with not so wise strategies. When I got contacted with one proposed observation spot, a metal waste treatment park, I asked directly about e-waste recycling treatment, and the park personnel denied immediately and explained that it’s because e-waste is illegal to import and the park is mainly dealing with the imported metal waste, so they don’t do e-waste at all. I followed a question of what exactly metal waste in the park. They range from discarded steel and copper to other semi-deconstructed metal waste, for example, some wasteful part of cars or an electrical motor from huge equipment. In fact, it’s hard to distinguish electronic waste from others. The personnel also admitted that sometimes their shipments may have some e-waste inside, but there is pretty small part otherwise custom would detect and forfeit the whole shipment. The final question is asked about that if those waste are not completely de-constructed and then how they deal with them. The personnel confirmed only manual redistribution by workers for current stage. With this telephone interview, as we were informed no e-waste spot could be available to visit, we gave up the original proposal. However, in the class discussion later on, our team member Angela provided some important information from her friend who works in the park confirming that there are some factories doing e-waste treatment informally.

The final field trip was to visit some second-hand electronic product (e-product) markets. In the morning, we firstly visited Tianyi Digital Plaza and then YiGao Digital Plaza. Both sell brand-new e-products, repair the broken, purchase the old and resell the second-hand. When we visited the floor especially bearing upon old e-products, we randomly interviewed some shop owners while not so many of them willing to answer our questions. We learned that currently the old product sources are mainly from domestic, and just a few from the foreign countries which is less and less because of the channel to get them is illegal (the same reason mentioned by the personnel from waste park). We also found even in a small market, there exist some business chains. For example, some only repair the chip-boards for second-hand e-product shops.

After team lunch, Mukda, Yulin and I visited South Gate Market, the biggest old product market in Ningbo. We could see a lot of old products sold or discarded by their previous users redistribute there, some lots of crashed televisions, some for air conditioners. We tried to search second-hand e-product shops, but, quite rare could be found before we jumped in the one introduced by a friend who had experience buying old stuffs here. Afterwards we understood that the declining number of second-hand e-product shops is because of less profit margin squeezed by decreased prices of new e-products and less customers. We chatted with staffs there and watched them working on the site. They introduced that after collecting back some old products, the first step is to de-construct each part and test performance. If any part is broken, they will try to repair or get a replacement. Then, it will be cleaned and reassembled to a well-functioned one for customer selection. Regarding those useless parts or unsold e-products, they consider them as absolute e-waste and move them out. Some junk man from Guangdong province or TaiZhou district would come and collect them. These e-wastes are sold per  kilogram, and the prices are quite regularly fluctuated and mostly decided by raw material market.  When transported to the following destination, these e-wastes will be crashed down in order to extract metal materials.

During this field, we found two different characters practically bound with these old e-products: e-waste and secondary resource. Regards with the industries chain or network, it might be the end of a chain as so called e-waste; on the other hand, it is the starting point as the secondary resource of a new industry chain.

1. Below are a few pictures of the field work.

TianYi Digital Plaza_Third floor for old e-product market

South Gate Market_ A shop corner storing old household electrical appliances

2. some videos from internet highlighting e-waste

HACK – E- Waste

One report investigating e-waste in Australia (then think about China status which is obviously more decades behind)


An interesting video metaphorizing the potential destructive power of e-waste.

Field Trip_Creative Industries_20100402

Posted: April 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | No Comments »

On 2nd April, we, the urban media network team led by Ned Rossiter, carried out a field trip aiming to understand the current situation of Ningbo Creative Industries. Two spots were selected as samples for observation: HeFeng Creative Square and Fortune Creation Harbor. The former one is still on construction, scheduling to open in 2011. The later has on business since June, 2008.

HeFeng Creative Square is located in the east bank of Yao River, opposite to LaoWaiTan. Though only semi-finished architectural complex erects on site, the temporary enclosure wall presents impressive advertisements in order to attract potential companies and financial investment. The stuffs there briefly introduced the industrial property and business scopes of Hefeng Creative Square. With interviewing one of the staffs by Ned Rossiter, we learned the ambition of HeFeng is to establish a flagship industry in providing creative and innovative service to plenty manufactories in Ningbo area, not only compete with local service providers, but also those from Shanghai or others, even foreign countries. When Rossiter asked about what is the decisive advantage for them to compete with other creative clusters. The answer is professional guide and training provided by cluster committee plus the golden location, the center of downtown Ningbo. Since the square occupies a large plot, it will also be integrated with commercial-oriented use like restaurants, hotel, shopping centre, and entertainment.

Later on, we also visit a reserved building whose precursor was a workshop of Hefeng Cotton Mill. It’s now the temporary station for enrolled enterprises. Some are stylish design companies; some are arts and antique stores.

The second spot is Fortune Creation Harbor situated in the North Bank Fortune Centre near to Ningbo Great Theater. At a first sight of the North Bank Fortune Centre, we noticed that though it covers huge territory with several high-end complexes, some offices seem empty and few pedestrians could be observed on site. When we get close to Fortune Creation Harbor, the situation is exactly the same, some companies removed out, some with no clue or little connection towards creative industries.

Referencing to the initial design of Fortune Creation Harbor, it was once a key creative industries project promoted aggressively by JiangBei government. However, two year later, the place even shows more deserted than before. From the field observation, we could assume that Fortune Creation Harbor is somewhat a failure example of creative industries.

Below is the snap show of the field work.

Section 1-HeFeng Creative Square


The planning map showing a large area of territory covered ;


Current Registered Companies Name Wall;


The only one reserved part of old Hefeng Cotton Mill;


Some design companies;


Some art and antique centers;

Section 2-Fortune Creation Harbor


Promotion signboard of Fortune Creation Harbor observed beside Great Theatre;


Mapping North Bank Fortune Centre: a large area of territory and several complexes;


Countless office rooms up there.


The landmark of Fortune Creation Harbor;


Some companies already moved out;


Some show little connection with Creative Industries(might be culture related)

Literature Review on ‘Creative Cluster ‘Out of Nowhere?’ by Keane (2008)

Posted: April 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries | No Comments »

One of the purposes of this article is to raise the awareness that “Planning is important to the success of creative cluster” (8th paragraph).

Even though creative clusters create wealth and employment opportunities for many people, however, it is important to realise that the success of creative cluster depends highly on the efficiency and effectiveness of planning the construction part of the clusters and how to attract investors to invest in creative clusters. As it could take a few years and millions of yuan to construct the clusters, investors should pay high attention to the forecast of economic situation when clusters are completed. This means that if clusters are completed at the time of recession, it would be worrying for investors.

In short, effective and efficient collaboration between investors, governments and other stakeholders is an essential project management skill to manage the construction of creative cluster projects and to deal with any unexpected situations and threats during the construction of after the completion of the cluster.

Field Trip on E-waste

Posted: April 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: waste industries | No Comments »

On Friday the 9th April 2010, Ned Rossiter, Wu Yang, Lv Yulin and I visited Tian Yi Digital Plaza, EGO Digital Plaza and South Gate 2nd Hand Market in Ningbo. Our purpose was to investigate on how electronic  waste are being managed in the country, where did the e-waste come from and where are they going and the current situation on the 2nd hand electronics in the e-waste industry.

(As the investigation have been carried out in Mandarin, below is my general understanding of the field trip.)

From 10 am to 11:30 am, we were at the two digital plaza walking around on the top floor, which was the floor where electronics are being repaired or they have reached the stage of the product life-cycle which they are ready to be recycled or put into the bin. By popping into a few shops asking them questions about the 2nd hand products, we found out that 2nd hand electronics are from local individuals  who wanted to use new models and new products launched in the market recently. 2nd hand electronics are sold to small businesses which aim to save cost in buying electronics. If electronics are  for private use, customers tend to buy new products as they believed that it will last longer. How much profit they get from selling 2nd hand electronics would depend highly on the model of the product, the number of years which the customers have used it and the remaining life expectancy of the products.

From 12:15pm to 1pm, we walked around South Gate 2nd Hand Market. We could hardly find any shops that sell or repair electronics. As soon as we found Wu Yang’s friend’s electronics shop, we popped in to asked a few questions. We found out that other electronics shops in South Gate have been closed down due to poor business. As this shop has been opened for 10 years, they could still survive in the industry because of good relations with old customers and old customers would tend to introduce this shop to new customers.

After buying products back from their customers, they would do their best to repair them so that they could earn some money by selling the products to other customers. If it is impossible to repair the products, they would deal with the external and internal parts by separating them into materials which could be sold for some money and materials which are valueless. Currently, there is no specific price for the any materials because the price depends on the economic situation and therefore the price varies from day to day. As an electronic shop which sell new products, repair and recycle old products, they survived in the industry as long as there is some profit for them to make.

In terms of electronic waste, the staff in the shop are aware on how much e-waste could damage the environment. Moreover, they are also concerned with the health of people who deal with the next step of the e-waste.

Further thoughts: In summary, Wu Yang, Yulin and I concluded that in order for the quantity of e-waste in China to be reduced, electronics should be repaired so that customers could reused them again. In addition,  2nd hand electronics should be sold at reasonably low price so that customers would be more willing to pay for the 2nd hand products.

Due to the rapid development and innovation of technology in countries like Japan and America, e-waste in these countries could be regarded as 2nd products in developing countries like China. Therefore, we assumed that the policy of importing e-waste have sustained environmental issues in China (as China does not have to deal with imported e-waste), but reusing electronics from other countries would benefit the Chinese customers as they get to pay lower price for the product which could be consider as ‘new’ to them. More importantly, this would also benefit the world’s environmental situation in the long run.

Further research: For the next field trip on e-waste, we plan to find out more about how the Chinese government is involved in managing the local e-waste, how could e-waste be managed more efficiently and the labour condition e-waste industry.