Category Archives: Gipouloux, François

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

First Horizon 2020 forum

horizon2020On December 16, the first Horizon 2020 Forum will be held at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. This event will be dedicated to Horizon 2020, the new reasearch programme funded by the European Union.

Prof. Gipouloux, coordinator of the UrbaChina consortium, will  be one of the guest speakers.

More information  (in French) can be found here.

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)

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URBACHINA: sustainable development for Chinese cities?

Interview with François Gipouloux (coordinator of the UrbaChina project) by Alessandra Rebecchini at GBtimes France, on 2 May 2014.

Francois Gipouloux, professor and researcher at the EHESS, teaches Asian-European comparative international economics.

Since 2011 Gipouloux has directed the European funded project UrbaChina, a collaborative project in which 11 Chinese and European research centres work towards sustainable urbanisation in China.

What strategies, what “advice” could Europe give China to be able to develop its cities and transport network? How can it integrate rural populations in these news cities?

UrbaChina is exploring different avenues.1

Listen to the podcast here (in French).

  1. Translation by Aurélia Martin. []

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l'UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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UrbaChina working paper series launched

The UrbaChina consortium has prepared a collection of working papers available on open access at Hal (the French national open archive for academic documents). Our working paper series disseminates research relevant to the different aspects of the urbanisation in China.

By publishing these working papers, the UrbaChina consortium hopes to stimulate discussion and contribute to the advancement of urban studies in China.

The first working paper is entitled “Urbanisation in China: The impact of the tax-sharing system and the definitions of new strategies“. 

This working paper was edited by five members of UrbaChina: Miguel Elosua (CNRS), François Gipouloux (CNRS), Sébastien Goulard (CNRS), Li Shantong (DRC) and Ni Pengfei (CASS-IFTE)

The working paper no.1 examines the evolution of Chinese cities and the challenges they are currently facing. It aims to identify possible patterns of urbanisation in the next forty years.
The first part analyses the transformation of Chinese cities as a consequence of the economic policies implemented within the country. The authors argue that the economic reform has accelerated China’s urbanisation. Other factors of this massive urbanisation include the improvement of transport infrastructures and the transformation of China’s industries.
The reform of the tax system between central and local authorities in 1994 is also examined, and its consequences on urbanisation, and its limitations.
Based on this analysis, the second part introduces the possible strategies China may adopt for the development of its cities. The objective of these policies will be mainly to control the path of urbanisation to prevent the emergence of super large city and encourage the creation of city networks. Future urban policies will also need to tackle such issues as rural flight and environment protection.

ELOSUA, M., GIPOULOUX, F., GOULARD, S., LI, S. and NI, P. (2013) Urbanisation in China: The impact of the tax-sharing system and the definitions of new strategies. UrbaChina working paper no.1 November 2013

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)

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UrbaChina programme on China Daily

This week, the China Daily (European weekly edition) has published an article on urbanisation in China in which several members of the UrbaChina consortium were interviewed, including Peter Daniels, François Gipouloux and Athar Hussain).

Cecily Liu, the author of this article, discussed the various challenges associated with China’s massive urbanization. Although this phenomenon creates huge opportunities for development, several issues, including the integration of rural migrants, need to be addressed. Liu believes that China needs to look closely at the EU’s urbanisation model in order to successfully build new cities to accommodate the growing urban population and offer them a better environment. Another challenge concerns China’s transition to a free market economy with a strong service industry. However, to achieve these goals, reforms need to be implemented in local financing.

European cities do have their own issues, but the European experience may offer new perspectives for China to improve its urbanisation. China may be inspired by the diversity of European cities and the various initiatives conducted to answer their environmental issues.

This article highlights the importance of cooperation between China and Europe to tackle the issue of urbanisation.

Cecily Liu (2013, June  14th), “Slick Cities”, China Daily.  Full version

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)

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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。


UrbaChina Paris workshop

On December 20, 2012, an UrbaChina workshop was held in Paris. Every European academic member of the consortium was represented. Cristina Marcuzzo (European Commission) attended this meeting and highlighted the importance of the UrbaChina FP7 programme on the future of EU-China academic relations. This meeting was an opportunity for the participants to review the work and progress made so far.

From left to right: Hanna Ai (CNRS), Cristina Marcuzzo (EU commission), Stephan Feuchtwang (LSE), Jacqueline Nivard (EHESS), François Gipouloux (CNRS), Athar Hussain (LSE), Andrea Ricci (ISIS)

Each workpackage leader presented to the audience his or her first fieldtrip results and his or her observations about a particular topic on China’s urbanisation trends.

  • Prof. Gipouloux (CNRS) and Prof. Daniels (University of Birmingham) focused on the consequences of fiscal policies on urban design and service industries in Chinese cities.
  • Prof. Hussain (LSE) presented the audience with his latest results of studies on property rights in Chongqing.
  • After a presentation on urban planning, Prof. Bina (ICS) and Dr. Ricci (ISIS) focused on the predominance of economic growth as the main driving force behind urban policies in China.
  • Prof. Feuchtwang (LSE) pointed out the difficulties that municipalities face in building low cost housing.

Management and dissemination issues were also discussed during this workshop. Participants agreed to increased cooperation for fieldtrips. They also decided to start conducting surveys on improving syllabuses for urban studies in Chinese and European academic institutions.

The second international UrbaChina conference, including both European and Chinese institutions, will be held in Kunming, China on June 3-5, 2013.

「城镇化中国」项目于2012年12月20日在巴黎召开欧盟伙伴会议,席中每一位欧盟成员皆出席,欧盟委员会(European Commission)的Cristina Marcuzzo在会议中再次强调了欧盟第七架盟下: 「城镇化中国」项目中,欧盟与中国伙伴间合作交流关系的重要性。此次会议的目的,在于提供与会者交流并检讨过去项目计划的缺失与改进方法。

「城镇化中国」项目计划中的每位专题主持人,皆介绍了他们的调研成果与发现,也分享了他们对未来中国城镇化的看法 :

  • Gipouloux教授(法国国家科学研究院)与 Daniels教授(英国伯明翰大学)针对中国城市的税务政策与服务性产业发展提出看法。
  • Bina教授(萄葡牙里斯本大学)与 Ricci博士(罗马系统整合研究中心)在介绍城市规划现况后,认为经济增长是中国城市政策实施的主要动力。
  • Feuchtwang 教授 (伦敦政经学院)则针对城镇化中面对的困难提出看法,例如设立廉租房的议题等。
  • Hussain 教授(伦敦政经学院)则介绍了他对于重庆产权的最新研究成果。

会议中也针对「城镇化中国」项目研究成果的管理与未来传播管道进行讨论,与会成员皆赞同未来各专题间共同参与调研的可能。在项目计划专题6 (Workpackage 6)中,未来将对中国与欧洲学术机构在促成城镇化发展中,所开设的课程进行比较研究。


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)

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China’s carbon emission trading

Publication of China’s carbon emission trading: an overview of current development, by SEI’s Guoyi Han, Marie Olsson and Karl Hallding, and David Lunsford, founder of the Hong Kong-based consultancy Energy Environment Solutions. The key question raised in the report is: can carbon trading succeed without a mature free-market economy ?

Karl Hallding, member of the scientific committee of UrbaChina,  heads Stockholm Environment Institute’s China Cluster and has extensive experience from international co-operation with China on environment and sustainable development since the mid 1980s.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Field research in the administration of environmental protection for the Huangshan district





On 25th September, for the Urbachina program, Professor François Gipouloux interviewed Hu Xiaowei, the director of taxes, Cheng Yu,  the director of environmental protection and Jiang Wenxiu, the deputy director of forestry for the district of Huangshan. The topics discussed were socio-economic development, tax policy, environmental protection and urban construction in the Huangshan district.



Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Interview at the China Center for Urban Development



2012年6月26日上午,中心邱爱军副主任会见了法国国家科学研究中心的吉普鲁(Francios Gipouloux)研究员。

2012年06月26日 15:46   来源:城市中国网


On 26th June, Professor François Gipouloux met the deputy director of the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD), Qiu Aijun, in order to introduce the Urbachina program. This center, established in 1998, is a public institution of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).



Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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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.