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 15: The evolutionary process of Shanghai’s rise to a global city: dynamic dialectics of localization and globalization

Du Debin, Huang Li and Xu Wei


The size and scale of urbanization acceleration in contemporary China is unprecedented in human history. Chinese urbanization is also unique in its evolutionary process because it runs parallel to its transformation from a planned economy to a socialist market economy. The case of Chinese urban development is of scholarly interest for several reasons. First, the process of urban growth is rapidly unfolded in a context of time–space compression in which the global flow of goods, capital and information meets few barriers (Harvey, 1989; Hou and Li, 2011) and is facilitated by innovations in transportation and communication (Pietrobelli and Rabolletti, 2011). Second, a tremendous number of rural migrants flow into cities searching for jobs. On the one hand, this provides the needed cheap labourers to fuel the process of Chinese industrialization (Cheng and Wang, 2013). On the other hand, it exerts great pressure on social stability in host cities (Nielsen and Smyth, 2008). The rapid urban growth and expansion mean that a sizeable amount of agricultural land has to be converted into urban built-up area and numerous urban residents and villagers are displaced (Gong et al., 2012). Third, the dynamics of Chinese urbanization are not only driven by localization processes, but also shaped by globalization processes that channel the global flow of capital, technology and information into Chinese economic engines (Walcott and Pannell, 2006).

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