China’s Urban Environmental Sustainability in a Global Context
Introduction With its economic reforms and the adoption of open door policies in the last two decades China has surprised the world: a striking economic growth rate of around 10 percent, dramatically improving living standards, and bold market reform policies. The World Bank lists China as its number one success story for post-socialist transition, in contrast to the difficulties experienced by Russia (Muldavin, 1997). China is a vast new market, a place to invest East Asia’s surplus capital, and a huge resource base. China is also the world’s largest developing country with over 22 percent of the global population. It is increasing in size by about 16 million people every year. The huge population has exerted great pressure on the global environment and on local development. With a large proportion of its population still living in rural areas, China is accelerating its urbanisation process through economic reform. The continued rapid urban growth, which appears to be an inevitable consequence of China’s economic and industrial development, is greatly expanding China’s consumption of energy and its contribution of global pollutants.