Urbanizing China

Course Number: 


Term offered: 

Fall 2013

Course Description: 

China urbanized 350 million people in the past 30 years and is poised to do it again in the next three decades. China’s urbanization is immense and rapid but largely “out of sync." This subject poses three questions: 1) To what extent are multiple interpretations of urbanization desynchronized in China—causing tensions and discontinuities between people and land, between economy and environment, between urban financing and urban form, and between locals and migrants? 2) What might differentiate the next 30 years from the past, both in terms of the evolving nature of the challenges and the variegated responses in urban governance, both formal (e.g. planning and policies) and informal, across China’s 600+ cities? 3) What differentiates China from other countries in their equivalent urbanizing historical periods? And what may China’s experience offer for the rest of the world? The subject treats China’s urbanization as the joint result of natural socioeconomic processes and conscious actions by governments, markets and the public. One overarching theme is the intricate interaction between state and market in China’s context, yielding a variety of state-market “cocktails” devised and experimented in different cities in response to local problems, each involving a multi-layered projection onto urban space.

cluster V4: 

China’s Urbanization and Motorization