China’s Urban Century
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China’s Urban Century

Governance, Environment and Socio-Economic Imperatives

Edited by François Gipouloux

The achievements of China’s urbanization should not be evaluated solely in terms of adequate infrastructures, but also in their ability to implement sound governance practices to ensure social, environmental and economic development. This book addresses several key challenges faced by Chinese cities, based on the most recent policies and experiments adopted by central and local governments. The contributors offer an interdisciplinary analysis of the urbanization process in China, and examine the following key topics: the institutional foundations of Chinese cities, the legal status of the land, the rural to urban migration, the preservation of the urban heritage and the creation of urban community, and the competitiveness of Chinese cities. They define the current issues and challenges emerging from China’s urbanization.
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Chapter 2: The city creation process in China

François Gipouloux and Li Shantong


Urbanization has had a huge and enduring impact on economic and social development in China. According to various forecasts by international organizations (United Nations, World Bank, OECD), China’s urban population is likely to expand from 572 million in 2005 to 926 million in 2025. This anticipated increase of 350 million exceeds the current population of the USA and is the equivalent of building a city the size of Shanghai every year. The main issue is no longer how to slow down the pace of urbanization, but how to facilitate and influence the process in ways that minimize its adverse effects and optimize its positive impacts. The targets and policies for urbanization, defined in the New-type Urbanization Plan for 2014–20, is a sensible attempt to strengthen the leading role of major urban centres, to increase the number of small and medium-sized cities and to improve the quality of service in small towns.1 It also stresses the importance of a people-oriented urbanization, since the proportion of urban permanent population will reach 60 per cent in 2020, and the share of people holding an urban hukou will be about 45 per cent. This first official plan on urbanization finally aims at integrating 100 million migrants settling in towns.

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