The Chinese City  book cover
2nd Edition

The Chinese City

ISBN 9781138327771
Published November 30, 2020 by Routledge
382 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Drawing on years of research experience and keen observations of the triumphs and problems in China’s cities, the authors provide a foundational understanding of China’s urbanization and cities that is grounded in history and geography and challenges readers to consider Chinese urbanization through multiple disciplinary and thematic lenses.

This book is anchored in the spatial sciences, including geography, urban studies, urban planning, and environmental studies. It offers a comprehensive survey of the evolving urban landscape, covering such topics as history and patterns of urbanization, spatial and regional context, models of urban form, economic and social-spatial transformation, urbanism and cultural dynamics, housing and land development, environmental and infrastructure issues, poverty and inequality, and challenges of urban governance. The book highlights both parallels and substantive differences between China and comparable cities and countries elsewhere, given that some urban conditions around the world converge and point to shared catalysts (e.g. internal migration) and globally linked processes (e.g. climate change). It explores the consequences of the demographic, economic, social, and environmental transitions on cities and urban dwellers.  Illustrated case studies in each chapter ground the discussion and introduce readers to the diversity of cities and urban life in China. Most chapters also can be used as stand-alone course materials, with suggested references for further reading. 

Intended for a wide audience in higher education and beyond, this book will be useful to readers interested in Chinese Studies, East Asian Studies, Urban Studies, Urban Geography, or Urban Planning.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Context and Evolution of Urbanization         

1. Geographical Setting 

2. Traditional Cities        

3. Pre-Socialist Urbanization      

4. Urbanization since 1949        

5. Migration and Population Mobility   

Part 2: Urban Development  

6. Urban Economy         

7. Governing the City     

8. Land Markets and Management       

9. Urban Infrastructure  

10. Urban Housing           

Part 3: Society and Environment in Contemporary Cities    

11. Social-Spatial Transformation

12. Lifestyle and Social Change   

13. Poverty and Inequality           

14. Environmental Quality and Sustainability     

15. Conclusion: Looking toward the Future

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Weiping Wu is a Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. She is an internationally known urban scholar working on global urbanization with specific expertise in issues of migration, housing, infrastructure, and land finance of Chinese cities. Her most recent book is the SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China.

Piper Gaubatz is Professor of Urban Geography at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Her China research over the past 30 years has spanned topics such as the historical development of cities on the Chinese frontiers, urban environmental history, and changing urban form and public space, and has included field research in sixteen different Chinese cities.