Tag Archives: urbanisation

The Guangdong Model of Urbanisation

The Guangdong Model of Urbanisation: Collective village land and the making of a new middle class. Paper written by Him Chung and Jonathan Unger (2013), China Perspectives, 2013/3, p. 33-41.

In some parts of China – and especially in Guangdong Province in southern China – rural communities have retained ownership of much of their land when its use is converted into urban neighbourhoods or industrial zones. In these areas, the rural collectives, rather than disappearing, have converted themselves into property companies and have been re-energised and strengthened as rental income pours into their coffers. The native residents, rather than being relocated, usually remain in the village’s old residential area. As beneficiaries of the profits generated by their village collective, they have become a new propertied class, often living in middle-class comfort on their dividends and rents. How this operates – and the major economic and social ramifications – is examined through onsite research in four communities: an industrialised village in the Pearl River delta; an urban neighbourhood in Shenzhen with its own subway station, whose land is still owned and administered by rural collectives; and two villages-in-the-city in Guangzhou’s new downtown districts, where fancy housing estates and high-rise office blocks owned by village collectives are springing up alongside newly rebuilt village temples and lineage halls.

Please click here to read the article (full text not available online): http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6258

Miguel Elosua

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

More Posts

Theorising Chinese urbanisation: A multi-layered perspective

Gu, Chaolin, Christian Kesteloot and Ian G. Cook (2014). Theorising Chinese urbanisation: A multi-layered perspective. Urban Studies. Published online before print, 22 September 2014.  doi:10.1177/0042098014550457.

Urbanisation in China and its rapid increase in recent decades as a result of industrialisation and globalisation are often conceived as a simplified process. Moreover, the speed of the present day process yields the impression that the traces of previous forms of urbanisation are erased for good. Both of these assumptions are challenged in this paper. The built environment resulting from this urbanisation process is to be conceived as a series of layers that reflect different modes of productions and related logics of production of space. Hence, we try to comprehend the spatial arrangement of the city, which can be thought of as a geological metaphor. The social groups that have to be sheltered in urban residential space also radically change in each of these periods. We proceed to analyse these layers and how they combine and interact over time with the concept of socio-spatial configuration, which denotes a precise type of residential environment related to a specific social group in the city. Chinese cities are made up of five types of urbanisation, reflected in five layers and their related socio-spatial configurations: the traditional, proto-globalisation, socialist, market-led and globalisation layers.

Read full text on Sage Journals (restricted access)


Monique Abud

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

More Posts

The race for expansion – Cerdá Year

Captura de pantalla 2014-08-08 a las 03.08.28

Exactly 150 years ago, on the 7th of June 1859, the Plan for Reform and Development of Barcelona was approved. This was the work of Ildefonso Cerdá. The Plan is considered to be a pioneer in the development of modern urbanism. What continues to surprise today is Cerdá’s capacity to predict the protagonistic role which public transport would play in the city.

For more information on the Cerdá Year, please click here: http://www.anycerda.org/eng/


Miguel Elosua

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

More Posts

Megacities of Asia

Collingridge, Vanessa (2014). Megacities of Asia, part I-III. South China Morning Post. Post Magazine. 15, 22, 29 June. Retrieved from: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/ (accessed 30 June 2014)

  • Megacities of Asia Part I: The rise and rise of the Asian megacity (and why ‘metacities’ are the next big thing)

Asia’s rapid urbanisation is changing the very shape and nature of what we think of as a city.

Read more at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1530748/larger-life-rise-and-rise-asian-megacity

  • Megacities of Asia Part II: Perils of the concrete jungle

Unprecedented levels of migration from rural areas have led to a host of logistical and environmental problems.

Read more at: Carticle/1536089/perils-concrete-jungle

  • Megacities of Asia Part III: The rise of the ‘Megaregion’

Urbanisation is changing the face of Asia but what’s next for the continent’s city dwellers?

Read more at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1540813/megacities-asia-part-iii-grey-areas


Monique Abud

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

More Posts

International experience for Chinese urbanisation


突出规划先行和政府引导。在城镇化早期,许多国家对城市发展放任自流,导致城市无序发展、贫民窟泛滥、卫生状况恶化、环境污染严重等“城市病”。为 此,英国政府颁布了世界上首部“城市规划法”,成为第一个较为成功地治理“城市病”的国家。德国在道路交通、电力通讯、排水排污等基础设施建设方面注重发 挥规划的指导作用,既立足于当前的实际需要,又着眼于未来的长远发展。日本在20世纪50年代就着手制定一系列国土与区域规划,并根据不同时期、不同地区 的发展不断对其进行调整与修编,还通过制定法律强化其引导作用。挪威、丹麦、美国等则通过开征碳税、对低碳经济实施财政补贴和税收优惠,利用市场杠杆,引 导鼓励企业和社会公众开展低碳行动,促进城市健康发展。

重视环境保护和生态建设。早在19世纪末,英国学者霍华德就提出了“田园城市”理论。英国在伦敦城市规划中提出应设置环城绿带,并于1935年通过 “绿带开发限制法案”,保障环城绿带建设。德国政府每4年出台一轮生态建设计划,要求各地城镇规划和建设必须充分尊重当地的自然条件,追求环境的优美舒适 及人与自然的和谐。荷兰对城市用地和建设规模实行年度计划控制,城镇规划和建设项目要经过严格的环评和审核后方可实施。日本在战后创造了举世瞩目的“经济 奇迹”,但也成为公害泛滥的“污染大国”,为此先后颁布“环境基本法”“公害防止条例”“环境行动计划”等几十项法律法规和行动计划,开展大规模的环境保 护、污染防治和生态建设,经过30多年的努力,恢复了环境的优美清洁。

加强空间管控和集约发展。空间管控作为一种有效的资源调控手段,集约发展作为提高资源利用效率的可行路径,日益成为城镇化和城镇规划的重要内容。早在 1872年,面对西部开发热潮、工业化迅速推进和环境污染日益严重,美国国会就通过黄石法案,成立了世界上第一个自然保护区——黄石国家公园。截至目前, 美国已设立57座国家公园、300多处自然和历史圣地、12000多处历史遗址和保护性建筑。新加坡是集约紧凑型发展的代表,尽管国土面积狭小,但仍留有 60%以上的土地没有开发,是全球在城市内保留大片原始雨林的两个国家之一。

强调城乡统筹和区域协调。大多数发展中国家的工业化和城镇化往往以牺牲农业和小城镇发展为代价,造成农村凋敝、生态空间退化、城乡发展失衡,以及人口 资源向大城市过度集中、环境不堪重负、区域发展失衡等问题。与之相反,欧美、日本等发达国家和地区在城镇化中期就关注并采取措施推进城乡和区域协调发展。 比如,德国采取乡村城镇化、城镇分散化的方式,一方面通过土地整理、村庄更新和产业非农化,促进乡村就地城镇化;另一方面通过城镇分散化,把传统的乡村居 民点直接转为工商业城镇。日本20世纪70年代确立了“大都市圈规划”“地方都市圈规划”“首都圈规划”等,以大城市为依托、以中小城市和小城镇为网络建 设城市群。英国、法国、美国、韩国等也通过实施“城市群”“城市反哺农村”战略,分解大城市环境压力,促进城乡和区域协调发展。

强化智能建设和智慧管理。物联网、互联网、云计算的应用,使得城市信息化向智能化发展。2008年IBM公司提出“智慧地球”概念,在全球掀起智慧城 市建设热潮:新加坡启动“智慧国2015”计划,韩国提出“U—CITY”建设大纲,日本提出“I—JAPAN”智慧城市计划,美国和欧盟国家也推出了智 慧城市建设试点。日本横滨通过智能能源管理,使社区能源消耗降低25%,二氧化碳排放量大大减少。巴西里约热内卢与IBM公司联手建立智能化“城市运营中 心”,强化了城市运营、环境安全和灾害预警的智能化管理。当前,智能化建设和智慧管理已成为各国提高城市效率、减少资源消耗、优化城市环境、增强国际竞争 力的重要手段。

The orginial website : http://opinion.people.com.cn/n/2014/0720/c1003-25303670.html

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.

More Posts

Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou

418533_coverAspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou by Bracken can be found at the OAPEN Library, an online resource for freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Bracken, G. (2012). Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.


China’s rise is one of the transformative events of our time. Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou examines some of the aspects of China’s massive wave of urbanization – the largest the world has ever seen. The various papers in the book, written by academics from different disciplines,represent ongoing research and exploration and give a useful snapshot in a rapidly developing discourse. Their point of departure is the city – Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou – where the downside of China’s miraculous economic growth is most painfully apparent. And it is concern for the citizens of these cities that unifies the papers in a book whose authors seek to understand what life is like for the people who call them home.

OAPEN Library also provides a list of alternative platforms to acquire the book. For more information, click here.

Aurélia Martin

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

More Posts

Realising China’s urbanisation dream

The East Asia Forum published an article on urbanisation in China. By Wang Xiaolu, published on 12 May 2014, accessed on 13 May 2014.

China is experiencing rapid urbanisation. It is the main engine of economic growth in contemporary China, although it is facing some severe challenges. A major problem is that the majority of the 234 million rural migrants in urban areas have not obtained urban permanent resident status, blocked by the hukou or urban household registration system. The newly released urbanisation blueprint by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, National New-Type Urbanization Plan 2014-2020, announced the acceleration of the process of turning rural migrants into urban citizens.

Please read the full article here.

Aurélia Martin

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

More Posts

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)

More Posts


On April 2, 2014, Prof. Chan published another article1 in Chinese on the lack of real breakthrough in China’s recent urbanisation plan.

自1949年起,中國始建城鄉二元體制,推行「中國式」城鎮化, 以法律、政治手段將社會、人口、勞動力等割裂成不平等的兩塊,並將戶籍制度與城鎮化緊緊綑綁。1979年前,戶籍制度將城鄉人口嚴格隔離。改革開放後,人口流動放寬,大量農民工進城打工但戶籍仍在農村,於是城市中產生一個龐大但無戶籍的「外來人口」群體,人數從1980年代初的20多萬,增至目前的2.4億,佔總人口17%。而如此龐大的「二等公民」群體將不利於社會安定

Prof Kam Wing Chan’s full article


  1. Kam Wing Chan  陳金永 (2014). Chengzhen hua xin lantu di tupo buzu城镇化新蓝图的突破与不足. Ming Bao明报 . April 2, 2014 []

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

China releases plan to incorporate farmers into cities

The government plans to move 215 millions people from rural areas to cities by the year 2025. One of the results awaited by the Chinese government by sustaining urbanisation is the creation of a consumer culture driving Chinese economy and raising standard living. But this plan will generate side effects concerning the integration of farmers moved into cities such as the lack of infrastructures (transports, houses, schools, hospitals) and the restricted access to public services for the people who are still registered as rural residents while they live since many years in the city. 

“Currently, nearly 54 percent of Chinese live in cities, but only 36 percent are registered as urban residents (…). The plan calls for integrating 100 million of these second-class citizens, so that by 2020, 60 percent of Chinese should be living in cities, with 45 percent enjoying full urban status, the plan states”.

According to urban planners, to make this plan effective, the government will have to carry out two complementaries reforms which are taxe reform, in order  to give more financial capacity to local authorities for investing into infrastructures, and farmers’ land rights reform, in order to give them the choice to keep or live their land. Two major reforms still however in the planning phase, according to Tao Ran, the acting director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy


For more information, read the full article: Johnson, Ian. China Releases Plan to Incorporate Farmers Into CitiesThe New York Times, March 17, 2014. [Retrieved March 19, 2014].

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

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 http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00943972

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

Drivers of China’s urbanisation and property development

Hu, Richard1 (2013) Drivers of China’s urbanisation and property development. The Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 19:2, pp.156-180. [accessed 19 November 2013].

The mainstream scholarship that seeks to explain China’s urban development tends to favour a macro discourse that focuses on institutional factors, such as globalisation, economic growth, and national policy reforms. These are important contributing factors, but they do not necessarily suffice to capture the complexities and interrelations of the immense magnitude of China’s urban development. In this article, I approach the endogenous factors to explain China’s urban development through the lenses of urbanisation and property development. I posit a dichotomy of institutional drivers and noninstitutional drivers. I argue that the dichotomy of institutional and noninstitutional drivers provides an integrated framework to explain China’s urban development, and fills the gap of missing non-institutional drivers in the mainstream scholarship. Discussions through this dichotomy reflect progress, identify problems and suggest further research agendas for both institutional and non-institutional drivers.

1. Associate Professor, Faculty of Business, Government and Law, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2601, Australia

Monique Abud

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

More Posts

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 http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00903218

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

Financial circuits and urban production in the global south (2)

The Centre d’Etudes Français de la Chine contemporaine (French Centre for Research on Contemporary China) (CEFC), the Laboratoire Techniques Territoires Sociétés (LATTS), the research unit Géographie-cités and the Réseau Asie-Pacifique (Asia & Pacific Network) are pleased to invite you to the ANR Finurbasie’s second workshop dedicated to the theme: Financial circuits and urbanisation in the global south (2).


Tuesday, Novembre 5, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Réseau Asie, Bâtiment Le France
Floor 6 (A elevators), plateau CNRS, Room 638
190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris


  •  10 a.m. – Welcome and introduction of the ANR Finurbasie project: Natacha Aveline (Géographie-cités, CEFC) and Ludovic Halbert (LATTS)

Morning: Middle East and North Africa

session in French chaired by Aurélie Varrel (CEIAS)
  •  10:30 a.m. – Burcu Ozdirlik (Lab’Urba): The structuring of the Turkish real estate industry and the new financial networks: the case of Istanbul’s new business centre. Discussion: Eric Denis (Géographie-cités)
  •  11:30 a.m. – Pierre-Arnaud Barthel (LATTS-IFU) and Leila Vignal (ESO-Université de Rennes 2): Big urban projects after the “Arab Spring” (2011): business as usual or signs of a rift in the political economy of these city areas? Discussion: Eric Denis (Géographie-cités)
  • 12:30 p.m. – Lunch buffet

Afternoon: Hong Kong and China

session in English chaired by Ludovic Halbert (LATTS)
  • 13:30 p.m. – Natacha Aveline (Géographie-cités, CEFC): Spatial and social impact of capital liquidity in real estate – the experience of the Hong Kong REITs. Discussion: Thierry Theurillat (Université de Neuchâtel)
  • 14:30 p.m. – Thomas Vendryes (ENS Cachan, Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne): Real estate investments and land rights in rural China. Discussion: Thierry Theurillat (Université de Neuchâtel)
  • 15:30 p.m. – Coffee break
  • 16 p.m. – Manuel Aalbers (Université de Leuven): Presentation of the research project (ERC starting grant) on Hong Kong and Chine: The Real Estate / Financial Complex. Discussion: Thierry Theurillat (Université de Neuchâtel)

Entry is free and open to all, but registration is required. Please contact: hortense.rouanet@enpc.fr

For the full programme PDF go here.

Aurélia Martin

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

More Posts

Urbanization in China (China Analysis)

Dossier “L’Urbanisation en Chine”. China Analysis = Les Nouvelles de Chine, n°42, avril 2013, p. 1-25 (in French)

 In 2011, for the first time in its history, China’s urban population overtook its rural population. A historic threshold has been crossed, albeit very late. Indeed, China’s urbanization rate, 51.3% according to the latest official publications, is well below the urbanization rates found in other countries with an equivalent level of development. Prime Minister Li Keqiang is hopeful that the country will overtake the 60% urban population threshold by 2020 and hopes to turn urbanization into a new growth driver for the country by investing in the internal consumption of a well-off and educated urban population as well as the stimulation of regions previously left behind by China’s economic success since the 1990s. However, the authors question the political ambitions for Chinese towns: do they have the means to deal with such rapid urbanization? What can be done to ensure that future urbanization does not repeat past mistakes?

Table of contents (Dossier)

1. Introduction : Une urbanisation à plusieurs vitesses (Camille Boullenois)

2. L’intégration des immigrés de l’intérieur (Marie-Hélène Schwoob)

3. Logement social : les gagnants et les perdants d’un système de plus en plus diversifié (Carine Henriot)

4. On ne pourra pas sortir de « l’airpocalypse » urbaine par des mesures administratives (Giulia Romano)

5. Regarder l’urbanisation en face (Renaud Cruells)

Monique Abud

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

More Posts