Chinese urban planning: environmentalising a hyper-functionalist machine?

Curien, Rémi. (2014) Chinese urban planning : environmentalising a hyper-functionalist machine? China Perspectives [Online], 2014/3. Connection on 16 September 2014. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6528.

How should the considerable discrepancy between the concepts of sustainable urban development proclaimed by the Chinese authorities and the reality on the ground be understood? This article examines the urban planning procedures that currently hold sway in China. The building of new cities is based upon a generic method of hyper-productivist and functionalist planning, reflected as a pyramid structure that extends over the whole country and is embodied by urban zoning on a vast scale. This procedure, which has been in force for nearly 30 years, is not at present one that is called into question by Chinese decision-makers, and does not take environmental principles seriously into account. Conversely, all of the reasoning upon which urban development is based remains very far removed from environmental considerations. China is continuing down the road of accelerated development behind the wheel of a growing hyper-functionalist urban machine.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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