Cities and Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development
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Cities and Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl

Over the past two decades, sustainability has become a principal concern for city administrators. It is a more than just environmental entailing economic, demographic, governance, social, and amenity aspects. After a short introduction to some theory, this book provides broad coverage of these aspects and their manifestations in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The contributors discuss, in detail, topics surrounding measurement, growth strategy, citizen participation, revitalization, and competitiveness. Though each of the cities discussed – ranging from Shanghai, to Barcelona, to Montreal – are distinct, there are similarities that connect them all. The book highlights their common elements to provide a feasible outcome for sustainable urban development.
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Chapter 4: Urbanization process and policies for sustainable urbanization in China

Shen Jianfa


Rapid urbanization is taking place in the developing countries – the Third World. According to United Nations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2012), 73.55 per cent of the world’s urban population, 2.67 out of 3.63 billion, was in less developed countries in 2011. In the same year, among the 23 largest mega-cities (each with a population over 10 million) in the world, 17 were located in the less developed countries. Although there are myriad differences between cities in the Third World, Drakakis-Smith (2000, p. 7) argued that they share common consequences of urbanization due to similar legacies of colonialism, linkage to the global economy and rapid population change. Most Third World cities are dominated by primitive accumulation. ‘In such cities working and living conditions were very poor. They were, in effect, centers of money-making for the rich with a poor quality of life for the majority of the workers’ (Short, 1996, p. 78). Urban governments have adopted either control or tolerance policies to deal with the informal economy and informal housing. Governments throughout Latin America have been forced to accept that the vast increase in the urban labour force could not be accommodated through large-scale rental housing (Gilbert, 1990). The expansion of quasi-legal self-help housing construction has been tolerated in these countries. Macharia (1997) argued that the informal economy and sub-standard housing are the best that low-income residents can manage, given their incomes in Nairobi.

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