Category Archives: Industries

城市规划原理 (Principles of urban planning)

4th edition of the volume edited by a team of professors from the Tongji University, with Li Dehua (李德华) as chief editor. Published by Zhongguo jianzhu gongye chubanshe (中国建筑工业出版社) in 2010.



Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

More Posts

Unreal Estate and China’s Collective Unconscious

Lam, Tong (2014). Unreal estate and China’s collective unconscious : photo essay. Cross-Currents : East Asian History and Culture Review. E-Journal, 10 (March 2014). URL:

More than two decades ago, at the height of postmodernism, French historian Pierre Nora lamented that there no longer existed any milieux de memoire, or environments that embodied real everyday experience. What was left, according to him, were merely lieux de memoire, or sites of memory. As such, historical monuments and other memory sites do not seem to carry any fixed historical meaning anymore. Rather, they have emerged as focal points of memory contestation and identity politics, becoming “pure signs” with “no referents in [historical] reality” (Nora 1996, 19).

Indeed, even in China, where the kind of politics of representation common to liberal democracies is seldom applicable, there has been a proliferation of counter-memories—from private museums to Cultural Revolution theme restaurants—that do not always conform to the grand narrative sanctioned by the government. The country’s rapid economic growth over the past three decades has essentially produced an accelerated history, or what Nora and others refer to as the collapse of the present into the past, of memory into history. Not surprisingly, a spontaneous movement is emerging to collect, preserve, and archive all sorts of tangible and intangible artifacts and practices, such as old photographs, recipes, oral histories, and folkways, in contemporary China’s new economy of nostalgia.

What has often been left out of this postsocialist archive fever, however, are the numerous sites that are slipping not into, but out of, history. China’s reckless urbanization and real estate speculation have produced countless architectural wreckages—buildings, neighborhoods, and even cities—that are incomplete, destroyed, abandoned, or otherwise unused. Out of sight and out of mind, these sites do not register in public memory. Some of them may look monumental, but they are not monumentalized. In short, these are sites not of dissonant memories, but of collective unconscious.

For the photographic series featured in this issue of Cross-Currents—“Unreal Estate and China’s Collective Unconscious”—I have selected a diverse range of ruinous spaces to tell an alternative history of contemporary China’s hysterical transformation. Whereas historical monuments in China are frequently used by the state to symbolize civilizational pride and national humiliation, in order to mobilize the masses to observe their patriotic duty, the ruinous sites I seek to foreground in my photographs are non-places that represent the specter of history.

Read full essay at Cross-Currents E-Journal


Monique Abud

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

More Posts

What makes eco-transformation of industrial parks take off in China?

Chang Yu,  (2014), What makes eco-transformation of industrial parks take off in China? Journal of Industrial Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12185 Restricted Access.

This article focuses on the effects of policy instruments for developing viable eco-industrial parks (EIPs) in China. We analyzed the root of China’s national EIP program and inventoried the general instruments available to local authorities to shape and promote eco-industrial development. Empirical research conducted in Tianjin Economic-technological Development Area and Dalian Development Area led to the activities and actions conducted by local authorities. A quantitative method, technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution, was adopted to reveal the effects of policy instruments for comparative analysis. We conclude that the planned EIP model is useful in the early stage of EIP development, and, subsequently, it should be combined with a facilitated model to achieve long-term goals for eco-transformation. To this end, the policy package of economic, regulatory, and voluntary instruments should be integrated and tailored in alignment with the local situation.

Read also

Chang Yu (2014), Eco-transformation of industrial parks in China, Dissertation. 1 doi:10.4233/uuid:f10443ff-78b9-4640-9d31-dbdf65f8e99

During the past three decades, China has achieved impressive economic development. However, the pollution and resource depletion that accompanied China’s rapid industrialization have led to severe environmental issues, such as ecosystem degradation, groundwater contamination and smog, which have turned into visible crises.

In China, industrial parks were initiated in the 1980s, aiming to attract foreign investment and to increase export. Most of these were manufacturing bases which lacked environmental planning or management. In these early stages, these parks were mainly dominated by manufacturing companies who process materials into products with low added-value. Local authorities sought sheer GDP growth without considering energy efficiency or environmental cost. While these industrial parks have immensely contributed to China’s GDP, the scale, intensity and arrangement of these industrial activities have jeopardized the ecological security and health of local communities. It is therefore imperative to transform China’s industrial parks and apply the principles of eco-industrial parks (EIPs).

This thesis aims to improve the understanding of the features of an EIP system and its mechanisms, in order to provide tailored policy intervention. Our central research question has been: How can industrial parks be eco-transformed in China? To answer this central research question, we have addressed a set of sub questions that have guided our theoretical and empirical research. These include: 1) How has the research on EIP evolved? 2) What elements are required to frame the analysis of EIP? 3) How can the key activities that influence changes of EIP system be structured? How can the process of the system development be tracked over time? 4) What policy instruments can stimulate the emergence of viable EIPs in China? How can the effects of policy instruments be evaluated? 5) What is the future of mature EIPs?

We first create a systemic and quantitative image of the evolution of this research field through bibliometric and network analysis. Furthermore, an analytical framework is established by the theoretical synthesis of EIP’s features from system and evolutionary perspectives, and the frameworks of institutional analysis. The framework allows analysts to structure empirical research and systematically analyze an EIP’s development, aiming at generating insights to diagnose current EIP policies or make new ones. Moreover, we conduct empirical research in three Chinese EIPs: Tianjin Economic-technological Development Area, Dalian Development Area, and Suzhou Industrial Park. We adopt several methods to evaluate the system performance steered by different policy instruments, which provides insights of the cause-and-effect mechanisms of EIP development. We believe that the lessons learned from these cases can demonstrate a profile of China’s EIP development.

Full text available on Deft Institutional Repository

  1. Chang Yu, Master of Science in Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, PHD Delft University of Technology []

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

More Posts - Website

Unauthorized use change of the industrial buildings

Li, T., Liao, H. P., Zhuang, W, Sun, H., Li, C. (2014). Unauthorized use change and control system of China’s industrial buildings : taking S district of Chongqing as an example. Canadian Social Science, 10 (4), 130-135. Available from:

This paper uses both theoretical research and empirical research in analyzing the changing scale and characteristics of spatial-temporal variations of the unauthorized change of the use of the industrial buildings in Chongqing’s S District. Through the in-depth exploration of the driving factors and mechanism of China’s unauthorized change of the use of the industrial buildings, this paper finally builds scientific and reasonable use change control mechanism for industrial buildings. It has been found through the empirical study that unauthorized use change causes great loss of state-owned land resources and serious impact on commercial real estate and leads to very baneful social consequences. Use change of industrial buildings includes five driving factors: economy, structure of land supply, laws, industry development and system. To avoid such use changes, we must improve the existing laws and regulations and vitalize the industrial building resources; optimize both land supply structure and the spatial arrangement of industrial buildings; explore to develop supervisory control system based on the building certification process and principle of rent-to-grant; construct multi-sector linked supervision system for the use change of industrial buildings; effectively use economic levers to squeeze the profit brought about by the use change of industrial buildings; and know clearly about the industry direction and settled businesses.

Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Construction of Chongqing Industrial Museum, Dadukou district

The old industrial district of Dadukou, located in the south of Chongqing, is being revitalised after the Chongqing Iron and Steel Company Limited, Chong Gang, moved out 65km away from the inner-city in 2006. The project of urban renewal will preserve the site’s history with the construction of the Chongqing Industrial Museum, and will establish spaces for new creative industries and develop urban systems and services. The Chongqing Industrial Museum Company is in charge of the project with international architects and designers partners. For this occasion, the Statue of Chaiman Mao will be moved inside the museum.

A worker on the scaffolding prepares to move a statue of Chaiman Mao in Chongqing while two men are watching as cranes move the statue covered in red . This is the first time that the city moved a Mao Statue. The cement-made statue was built by a factory in the city in 1968 during the “cultural revolution” (1966-1976). It was abandoned when the factory moved in July 2012. The site around the statue is being rebuilt into a storage yard of a logistic company. The statue will be moved to the newly built Museum of Chongqing Industry, which showcases the city’s industrial history and achievements.[Photo/]

Chongqing moves Chairman Mao statue

Source: ChinaDaily

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris - Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

More Posts

Sustainable automobility: understanding the car as a natural system

Nieuwenhuis, Paul (2014). Sustainable automobility:  understanding the car as a natural system. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar. 208 p. ISBN: 978 1 78347 267 3 (hardback) and 978 1 78347 268 0 (ebook).

783472673If we are part of nature, then so is everything we make. This  book explores this notion using the example of the car, how it is made and used and especially how we relate to it, with a view to creating a more sustainable automobility.

We have been trying to make cars cleaner and more efficient, but has this really made them more sustainable? This book argues, within the context of sustainable consumption and production, that we should see the car as a natural system, subject to natural laws and processes. As part of this new perspective we need to change our attitude to cars, building more durable relationships and co-evolving with them. Revolutionary, perhaps; but if we get it right, this approach will allow us to enjoy motoring – albeit in modified form – into the future. The book draws on a range of disciplines, including industrial ecology, engineering, philosophy, anthropology, consumer psychology and object-oriented ontology, as well as providing industry examples to support its innovative case.

Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Restructuring inner city brownfields into creative spaces : new modes of local urban governance

Philipp Zielke, Michael Waibel (2014), Comparative urban governance of developing creative spaces in China, Habitat International 41 (2014) 99-107. 

Converting old industrial districts into new creative spaces is becoming a new challenge for chinese post-industrial cities as it implies “material” and “symbolic” benefits for urban stakeholders. As a consequence, new modes of urban governance are emerging consolidating  the powerful role plays by the local government as a key decision maker  in the promotion of creativity within the city. From “creative spaces” to “spaces of controlled creativity”?

The objective of this paper is to analyze and compare the governance of emerging creative spaces in China over time. The development of the most prominent creative spaces in Beijing and Shanghai will thereby be compared to the development of creative spaces in the Pearl River Delta, the latter being globally known as “factory of the world,” representing the archetypal economic model of China’s First Transition.


This paper argues that the governance of creative spaces can be described as a path from informal experiments at the local micro-level to the development of a comprehensive toolset of mainstream policies at the municipal level. This happened in face of the shifting acknowledgment of creative industries from the national level. Consequently, Beijing and Shanghai became spearheads regarding the legalization of creative spaces. This paper further shows that within the institutional milieu of creative spaces, the local state acts as a very pragmatic key decision maker. In conclusion, the local state plays several decisive roles in the course of the development of creative spaces: a transformer of land use rights, a regulator in developing a legislative framework, a mediator between former operator and real estate developer, an investor and distributor of public funds, a supervisor and manager of the local economic development and last but not least a supervisor of creative spaces.


AsKeane (2011: 2) has argued, culture, innovation and creativity are often inter-linked and co-dependent. This is especially true for China, after the country had joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 (Keane, 2005: 270). Many politicians around the globe regard creativity as the “magic bullet”  (Hall, 2000: 640) for economic development, providing new jobs, all with little or no investments from municipal budgets. Further, creativity is utilized as a tool of “urban place-making and marketing” ” (Daniels, Ho, & Hutton, 2012: 5; Kearns & Philo 1993), to build an image of a modern and attractive city in the post-Fordist age. These attempts must be seen in the context of increased global competition among cities to attract investors and the highly educated creative class (see Bassett 1993: 1779; Bianchini, 1993: 1). The value of creative spaces lies not only in economic possibilities, but in their intrinsic value (Sauter, 2012) as vehicles for the preservation  of cultural heritage and promotion of the arts.

Full article available on

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris - Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

More Posts

What’s so special about China’s producer services? An input–output analysis

Cheng, D. and Daniels, P. W. (2014), What’s so special about China’s producer services? An input–output analysis. China & World Economy, 22, 103–120. (Retrieved 15 March 2014) DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-124X.2014.12055.x

In the present study, five stylized facts about China’s producer services are established through international, intersectoral and intertemporal comparisons based on input–output tables. First, the overall service input ratio is the lowest in all the sample economies. Second, most producer services are supplied by the traditional labor-intensive sectors. Third, manufacturing is the biggest user of producer services, and service industry is the second, while the opposite is true for most of the other sample economies. Fourth, unlike other economies, China’s “R&D” is characterized more by consumer services than producer services. Fifth, China has fairly lower service input ratios in almost all the industries. The backward and forward linkages coefficients are both smaller for “real estate activities” and “finance and insurance.” Policy reform should focus not only on specific producer services but also on reducing obstacles that are inhibiting the balanced development of diverse producer services that will help China to optimize its economic structure.

Read full text on Wiley Online Library (free access)

  • Cheng Dazhong is Professor at the Department of World Economy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • Peter W. Daniels, a member of the UrbaChina research team, is Professor at the University of Birmingham, UK.


Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Working paper UrbaChina no.2 now online

The UrbaChina team is pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd UrbaChina working paper entitled “Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry“.

This paper, edited by prof. Peter W. Daniels (UoB-SERU) and prof. Ni Pengfei (CASS-IFTE), summarizes progress towards servicification and the rationale for undertaking more research that will deepen understanding of the actual and potential contribution of producer services. Some recent empirical evidence on the growth trends for producer service in selected cities, including the four case study cities of Shanghai, Huangshan, Chongqing and Kunming, is presented. It is shown that in majority of cities the manufacturing-services gap remains  a significant.

The UrbaChina working paper no.2 is now available on open access at the hal-FP7 UrbaChina paper collection.

Recommended citation: Daniels, P., & Ni, P. (2014). Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry (UrbaChina working paper no.2. February 2014). Paris: CNRS. Retrieved from

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Industrial upgrading and urbanization

Conference date

August 28-29 , 2014


Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics

Deadline for submissions

March 1, 2014

More than three decades of high economic growth has transformed China from a low- to middle- income country. However, China is facing a new set of challenges. With rising labor costs, the previously competitive labor-intensive manufacturing sector will lose its edge. As millions of workers migrate to and work in cities, inclusive urbanization commands a high priority. This conference will collect academic papers at both the micro and macro level with the aim of providing empirical evidence concerning challenges in terms of industrial upgrading and urbanization. Papers that relate to these issues are therefore especially welcome.

More information



Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Old industrial cities seeking new road of industrialization

Old industrial cities seeking new road of industrialization : models of revitalizing Northeast China. Edited by Mark Wang et al. Singapore : World Scientific, 2014. 250 p. ISBN: 978-981-4390-53-8 (hardcover)

About the book

The old industrial cities in northeast China (Manchuria) were the cradle of China’s industrialization and had significantly contributed to the industrialization of the nation during the Mao era. Deng’s open door policy and economic reform disadvantaged the region and left it behind others. In the context of market economy and competition from rapidly growing coastal areas, northeast China became the burden to China’s overall economic development. With a high concentration of state-owned heavy industries, cities in this region suffered from heavy losses in revenue and massive layoffs of millions of former state-owned enterprise workers, known as the “Northeast Phenomenon” or “Neo-Northeast Phenomenon”.

However, since the implementation of the Chinese Government’s “Revitalisation Strategy of Northeast China” in 2003, cities in northeast China have gone through various transformations. Their recent economic performance has made many Chinese economists predict that northeast China will become China’s new growth engine and catch up with the economic performance of other prosperous regional economies such as the Pearl River Delta, Lower Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin region.

This book investigates how cities in northeast China are shaking off their economic disadvantages and implementing various forms of restructuring in their industries. The authors identify six different reindustrialization models, namely Shenyang Tiexi Model — repacking old industries; Dalian Model — beyond the China’s coast development model; Daqing Model — extension of industrial chain; Fuxin Model — modern agro-processing saved the coal mining city from “ghost town”; Jilin city — low carbon-oriented model; and Central Liaoning Urban Cluster Model — negotiated/agreed industrial division. All these models will be explained through analysis of their approaches, key actors, and mechanisms.


  • Introduction: Urban “Catch Up” Strategies for China’s “Rust Belt” Region
  • From Mao’s Pet to Deng’s Burden
  • Revitalization Strategies of Old Industrial Cities Under Hu
  • Shenyang Tiexi Model — Repacking Old Industries
  • Dalian Model — Beyond the China’s Coast Development Model
  • Daqing Model — Extension of Industrial Chain
  • Fuxin Model — Modern Agro-Processing Saved the Coal Mining City From “Ghost Town”
  • Jilin City — Low Carbon-Oriented Model
  • Central Liaoning Urban Cluster Model — Negotiated Industrial Division

 More information and a sample chapter on the publisher’s site



Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Kashgar on the path to future

Rippa, Alessandro (2013, October 14). Kashgar on the move. The Diplomat. (Retrieved 17 October, 2013).

China’s westernmost city, Kashgar lies at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, closer to Bagdad than Beijing. For travellers and traders coming from Central Asia and Pakistan, the city offers a first glimpse of China. Yet, in most cases, Kashgar strikes them for its similarities to the countries they have just left. Coming from inner China, on the other hand, Kashgar often leaves the impression of entering another country, particularly as one walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, or watches the crowd at the dusty livestock market on a Sunday morning.

Kashgar’s links to the Central Asian world – geographic and cultural – are thus not only a feature of its much-discussed “old town,” which at any rate is being transformed in a massive process of renovation. Central Asia is also an important part of the city’s future plans for development. This future, far from the artisans and mosques of the old town, is reflected in the current construction of the new Special Economic District.

The district will represent the core of Kashgar’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ), as the city was classified in May 2010. Kashgar’s model is Shenzhen, transformed in thirty years from a small fishing village into a large city that is one of China’s wealthiest. If Shenzhen was chosen for its proximity to Hong Kong, Kashgar lies within a day’s ride of four different countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (though the border at the Wakhjir Pass is not an official border crossing point and it is not served by a road) and Pakistan.

China is not hiding these ambitious plans for its westernmost city. Quite the contrary. Between the end of June and the beginning of July, as foreign journalists in China were busy covering the most recent spate of attacks in Xinjiang, an important four-day fair in Kashgar went almost unnoticed. It was the ninth edition of the Kashgar Central & South Asia Commodity Fair, an important attraction for Central and South Asian traders. The main avenue was the impressive Kashgar International Convention and Exhibition Center, situated not far from the recently constructed Eastern Lake – a major attraction for Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, for the first time in 2013 the China Kashgar-Guangzhou Commodity Fair has been held as part of the main fair, though in a different location: the Guangzhou New City, a exposition complex in the South-Western part of town, on the Karakoram Highway, newly opened for the occasion.

Read more

Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Urban infrastructure governance and urban growth

Call for paper, AAG 2014: Urban Infrastructure Governance and Urban Growth

 Urban infrastructure (e.g. electricity supply, water supply, transportation, communication, etc.) is at the very heart of economic and social development of a city. It provides the foundation for virtually all modern-day economic activity, constitutes a major economic sector in its own right, and contributes importantly to raising living standards and the quality of life. With the continuously expanding urban population and land use, governments are confronted with new challenges for planning & governance of urban infrastructure provision. Meanwhile, many cities, both in China and West, are trying to maintain continuous urban growth by providing more and better urban infrastructure. The majority of China’s cities, for example, are building industrial parks to attract internal and external investments.

The aim of this session is to encourage submissions that address any issues related with urban infrastructure planning & governance and the role it plays in urban growth in China and the West. Both theoretical and empirical research contributions are welcome.

Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Rongxu Qiu or Yin Yang by November 19th, 2013.


Yin Yang, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Email:

Rongxu Qiu,Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge. Email:


October 7th, 2013: Call for papers.

October 23rd, 2013: You can benefit from a reduced registration fee if you register for the conference prior to Oct 23 (you can submit your abstract later).
November 19th, 2013: Abstract submission and expression of intent to session organizers.
November 22nd, 2013: Session finalization.
December 1st, 2013: Final abstract submission to AAG, via
December 3rd, 2013: AAG registration deadline. Sessions submitted to AAG for approval.
April 8th -12th, 2014: AAG meeting, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.

More infomamtion at the AAG annual meeting webpage

Monique Abud

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

More Posts

Can rural industrialisation take place while China is in the process of urbanisation?

The gap between urban and rural areas has widened in China since the early 1980’s. Because economic opportunities are found in the cities, millions of peasants have moved to urban centres. The Central government is eager to find solutions to reduce migration flows and rebalance development between rural and urban regions. A possible remedy may be to industrialise these rural regions, so that the inhabitants are willing to stay in their home areas.

In a paper published in 2012, Song Huasheng, Zhu Xiwei (Zhejiang University) and Jacques-François Thisse (Université catholique de Louvain)1 studied the relations between rural industrialisation and urbanisation. According to their research, the two phenomena can take place simultaneously in China. If rural industrialisation is still rather weak in the Western provinces, this is mainly due to the lack of technology in the local firms.  Moreover, these firms have undergone stronger competition from urban companies as a result of the improved transportation infrastructures between urban and rural areas. 

According to the authors, rural industrialisation is conditioned by two factors: greater access, for rural companies, to technologies and better training for rural workers.  The “Go West” development strategy that has been implemented since 2000 includes several measures supporting education in the least developed parts of China.  However, these measures need to be further developed in order to reduce regional inequalities.

There is another measure that would help to industrialise rural areas, namely a reform of rural land ownership and rural land transactions. No real industrialisation can take place if peasants cannot cut their ties to their farm land. The marketisation of rural land would create larger and more efficient agricultural firms, and this would also allow former peasants to create their own local enterprises.  The money collected from land transactions could also be invested in their training.

All this means that rural industrialization cannot be successfully implemented unless distinctions (and inequalities) between rural and urban land statutes disappear.

  1. Song, Huasheng, Thisse, Jacques-François, Zhu, Xiwei. (2012)Urbanization and/or rural industrialization in China. Regional Science and Urban Economics, Volume 42, Issues 1–2, January 2012, pp.126–134. []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

More Posts

Urban history and urban development in China

Xue, Qian. 2013, March 8. Urban history : a knowledge base for urban development. (accessed 9 July 2013).

 Starting from 2013, the Hangzhou Cultural and Historical Research Association will embark on a five year Wuhan Changjiang Bridge, 1957project investigating various aspects of the city’s history, including industrial development, urban construction, transportation development, etc. It is expected to provide knowledge and referential experience for current urban development.

Since the 1980s, China’s rapid urbanization has drawn more and more scholars toward the study of urban history; research on Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Wuhan has achieved significant results.

Chinese urban history studies grow fast

According to incomplete statistics, during the period from 1979 to 2010, publications on Chinese urban history totaled more than 2,000 volumes.
Professor Li Changli at the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  said that in the past 20 or more years, the urban development in China has inspired many new topics and subfields among urban historian. Research in the area is blossoming. Particularly in recent years, publications of Chinese urban history have seen greater serialization, covered a broader range of issues and reached a more international audience.

Urban history is a branch of history.  It originated in the 1920s in the west and saw a revival in the 1960s; till 1980s, the subject had only gradually drawn attention from Chinese academia. He Yimin, vice president of the Chinese Urban History Association and director of the Institute of Urban Studies at Sichuan University, noted that China’s social development, urbanization, industrialization and modernization are the driving forces of Urban History Studies. Scholars often take major emerging cities such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Wuhan as original research subjects; today, their research is developing quickly.

Read more on Social Sciences in China Press


Monique Abud

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

More Posts