Author Archives: François Gipouloux

The UrbaChina project (2011-2015): completion and follow-up

The UrbaChina project has come to an end. This EU funded research project started in March 2011 and was completed in February 2015. UrbaChina’s main objective was to determine China’s urbanisation trends for the next 40 years and outline possible future scenarios with reference to concepts of sustainability. To reach this goal, UrbaChina used interdisciplinary methods and proposed a multi-faceted approach to the study of sustainability.

As the coordinator of this project, I found this a very rewarding experience. Working with some 11 leading Chinese and European research institutions and cultivating a network between them was very stimulating. We hope UrbaChina was the first step toward a fruitful cooperation between European and Chinese researchers in urban studies, leading to future cooperation.

During the past four years, the UrbaChina teams conducted several fieldtrips in China, mainly in the four cities selected for the project (Shanghai, Chongqing, Kunming and Huangshan), where we interviewed dozens of urban planners, land developers, scholars and officials at both the central and local levels of government. We also took part in several conferences in China and Europe, and organised several international events; we reviewed articles and endeavoured to inform a broad audience about the latest developments in China’s urbanisation.

Our findings have been shared with the scientific community and stakeholders in China and Europe. Most of our results can be found online.

The UrbaChina blog was launched in October 2012 to disseminate our results and identify the latest news on four specific themes regarding urbanisation in China:

  • Institutional foundations of city creation;
  • Land, property and the urban/rural divide;
  • Environmental and health infrastructures and services;
  • Traditions and modern lifestyles in cities.

The UrbaChina blog team was mainly composed of information specialists (Monique Abud, Jacqueline Nivard), a language editor (Aurélia Martin), Ph.D. students (Sébastien Goulard, Chi-Han Ai (艾之涵), Miguel Elosua,) and two interns Léa Daures and Oriane Pillet.

We carried surveys monitoring on urbanisation, putting a special emphasis on open access. Most of our posts link to articles available free online. In the same spirit, we opened an open archive providing images of the four cities under study in the UrbaChina project: Shanghai, Huangshan city, Chongqing, Kunming on MediHAL and a collection of working papers on HAL. The blog became an important tool for us to share this information effectively, with its newsletter ran by Sebastian Goulard every week.

We hope that our blog has satisfied your interest in urbanisation in China. Since the UrbaChina project is now finished, this blog will no longer be updated, but all posts will remain accessible. The blog will also be kept as an archive at the French National Library.

We would like to thank all our contributors and our readers who have helped keep our blog alive for the last three years. Our gratitude also goes to Open edition, the academic blogs platform, for hosting our blog and for their help, and to the China Centre at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales for its enthusiastic support.

Although this research programme is completed, China’s urbanisation still has many issues to deal with and will still be a hot topic for the next few decades. We will continue our research in other forms.

A new blog dealing with urbanisation topics in China will be launched by the end of the month.

We hope you will still continue to follow and enjoy our content.

François Gipouloux, CNRS, UrbaChina Project Coordinator

Happy snake year!

Yu Yuan (Shanghai) - Nouvel An 2010, Elosua Miguel2013 will be a very critical year regarding China’s urbanisation. The election of  the 12th National People’s Congress with a new generation of leaders, may give new directions to domestic policies.
At UrbaChina, we hope that some of our analyses will help , at our small scale, China’s stakeholders to find solutions to challenges caused by urbanisation.
In 2013, the 2nd international Urbachina conference will be held in Kunming on June 3-5. The different Urbachina teams have completed their field trips and have been started formulating their results and defining trends. The Snake year will be a busy but passionating time. We hope you will follow our activities on our blog.


谨代表「城镇化中国 UrbaChina」计划团队,祝大家蛇年愉快,心想事成。
在新的蛇年里,「城镇化中国UrbaChina」第二届国际研讨会将予 2013年6月3日至5日在昆明召开,计划团队也将在此时完成调研与报告撰写,期望您能持续关注「城镇化中国UrbaChina」网站,让我们提供给您更新颖的中国城镇化信息与观点。


Welcome to our blog UrbaChina

Funded by  the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, URBACHINA is a collaborative project managed by a consortium of 11 leading Chinese and European research institutions. Coordinated by the CNRS (France’s National Centre for Scientific Research), URBACHINA will analyse the trends in urbanization in China over the next 40 years and define possible future scenarios with reference to concepts of sustainability.

European Union – China cooperation

URBACHINA is a research project, which places strong emphasis on the cooperation between the EU and China. Although urbanisation in Europe and in China has  followed different  paths, there is nonetheless room for mutual learning. One of the main objectives of this project is to strengthen the collaboration between Chinese and EU researchers and policy-makers who are motivated  by the common goal of building sustainable cities.


Urbanisation has been a consequence of the accelerated pace of economic development triggered by a sequence of policies to open up and reform the Chinese economy at the end of 1978. Given the significant impact that recent rapid urbanisation trends have had on the environment, resources and health, the expected growth of China’s cities poses a unique challenge to sustainability.
URBACHINA specifically addresses four aspects of sustainability:
institutional foundations and policies;land, property and the urban rural divide; infrastructure and services for sustainable urbanisationtraditions and modern lifestyles in cities.


URBACHINA ultimately aims to:

  1. enhance the common understanding of urbanisation trends in both China and Europe,
  2. identify the main aspects of urban sustainability,
  3. influence policy-makers  and  society  on  sustainability  issues,  through  vigorous dissemination strategies i.e.  publications, events, media involvement and its website.

More information on the Website of URBACHINA

The blog UrbaChina aims to identify the latest news on four specific themes regarding urbanisation in China: the institutional foundations and policies for urbanisation;  the territorial expansion of Chinese cities; the infrastructures and services for sustainable urbanisation; the building of urban communities. It will also provide information on ongoing research within the FP7 Project UrbaChina : sustainable urbanisation in China, historical and comparative perspectives and large scale trends leading up to 2050.