Mapping China: Urbanisation

Urban development in Henan province. Photo provided by Urban China

Introduction: Nine Issues in China’s Urbanisation

What has taken place in China in the past three decades is the most magnificent and effective urbanisation in human history. The urban population has increased by more than 500 million, and new buildings and infrastructure have been erected everywhere. This not only changed the day-to-day experience of those who underwent the transformation, but also contributed to the advancement of knowledge on cities and the forming of cities in general.

Similarly, the diversity of domestic practices that have been introduced to the cities from rural areas with their distinctive socio-political contexts has enriched the content of modern urban planning and modern architecture, although these professions were only introduced into China from the West less than a century ago.

This article introduces nine topics concerning the course of China’s recent urbanisation, which have been abstracted from the latest issues of Urban China Magazine. These nine topics do not necessarily fall into one paradigm, but they have been dominating the discourse of Chinese urbanism over the past few years. They are equally important for practicing urban planners and architects, because the professionals cannot create a contextual design without recognising one of these issues as the foundation for a working model.

The discussions here are expected to demonstrate the mechanisms and organisation of Chinese cities today, and to map the trends of tomorrow. For those who are interested in this still-urbanising country, they will form the stepping stones towards a bigger picture.

 

About the Author: Huang Zhengli

Ms. Zhengli Huang is an architect and urbanist. She studied Architecture and Urban Design in Shanghai and Berlin. She has worked in projects and in institutes in China, the US and Kenya. Since 2010 she has been a senior researcher and editor in Urban China Magazine.

Contact: Jeringhuang@gmail.com

* Introduction of Urban China

Urban China magazine is authentically the first magazine on urbanism in China, and also a multi-dimensional medium which integrates deep-level problems with popular expressions, orthodox official discourse with vivid folk narration. The magazine’s readers consist of professors and students in different fields including urban planning, urban management, financing etc, as well as policy makers and real estate companies.

 

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