Handbook on Urban Development in China
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Handbook on Urban Development in China

Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson

The trajectory and logic of urban development in post-Mao China have been shaped and defined by the contention between domestic and global capital, central and local state and social actors of different class status and endowment. This urban transformation process of historic proportion entails new rules for distribution and negotiation, novel perceptions of citizenship, as well as room for unprecedented spontaneity and creativity. Based on original research by leading experts, this book offers an updated and nuanced analysis of the new logic of urban governance and its implications.
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Chapter 2: Planning for urban visions: the case of the Shanghai 2040 Master Plan

Lan Wang


The impact of urban planning on urbanization in China has been dramatic in the thirty years since the beginning of reform and opening in 1979. Using a theoretical framework of planning culture, this chapter introduces the structure and features of China’s planning system, unravels its function within and beyond the system, and then discusses new approaches to developing plans. The basic components of China’s planning system include the legal system, standards system, and plan system, which support each other to guide urban development consistent with planning visions. The rationale for planning in China is to protect collective interests and public goods. The vision is delivered top down through China’s governmental and planning hierarchy. Because master plans play a significant role in developing urban visions within the hierarchy, this chapter describes a paradigm shift in Shanghai’s vision new 2040 Master Plan in which Shanghai envisions itself as a global city.

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