The Chinese City

Front Cover
Routledge, May 7, 2013 - Architecture - 312 pages

China’s cities are home to 10 percent of the world’s population today. They display unprecedented dynamism under the country’s surging economic power. Their remarkable transformation builds on immense traditions, having lived through feudal dynasties, semicolonialism, and socialist commands. Studying them offers a lens into both the complex character of the changing city and the Chinese economy, society, and environment.

This text is anchored in the spatial sciences to offer a comprehensive survey of the evolving urban landscape in China. It is divided into four parts, with 13 chapters that can be read together or as stand-alone material. Part I sets the context, describing the geographical setting, China’s historical urban system, and traditional urban forms. Part II covers the urban system since 1949, the rural–urban divide and migration, and interactions with the global economy. Part III outlines the specific sectors of urban development, including economic restructuring, social–spatial transformation, urban infrastructure, and urban land and housing. Finally, part IV showcases urbanism through the lens of the urban environment, lifestyle and social change, and urban governance.

The Chinese City offers a critical understanding of China’s urbanization,exploring how the complexity of the Chinese city both conforms to and defies conventional urban theories and experience of cities elsewhere around the world. This comprehensive book contains a wealth of up-to-date statistical information, case studies, and suggested further reading to demonstrate the diversity of urban life in China.


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The historical urban system
The urban system since 1949
Urbanrural divide socialist institutions and migration
Cities in the global economy
Urban restructuring and economic transformation
Urban infrastructure
1Land use rights assignment cases 20032007
Environmental quality and sustainability
1Air quality in downtown Shanghai 2011
Lifestyle and social change
1An informal market in a temporarily vacant lot Kunming
Urban governance and civil society
1Chinas administrative hierarchy

Urban land and housing

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About the author (2013)

Weiping Wu is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. She conducts research on migration and urbanization, university-industry linkages, and China's urban development.

Piper Gaubatz is a Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She specializes in the study of urban change, development and planning in East Asia.

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