chapter  14
30 Pages

Serving the People? Private Versus Public Provision in China's Cities

WithChristopher J. Smith

This chapter examines the provision of services in China's cities, focusing on the impact of the several Modernizations project on the pattern of service delivery. It discusses two new developments that have changed lives and landscapes in Chinese cities: expanded consumption of all types of goods and services; and commodity housing. The new system of urban spatial organization was different, as it was created deliberately from and was meant to be a fully integrated network of local territories at different levels in the hierarchy. The new system of spatial organization greatly facilitated the tasks of urban governance. In addition to the services provided by neighborhood-based organizations, many of China's city dwellers have access to services provided by their work unit. Progress down the private path has thus far been limited, and, as with all reform in China, the momentum was slowed somewhat by the political crisis in 1989 and by the regular oscillations of policymaking.