China’s cities are home to 10 percent of the world’s population today. They display unprecedented dynamism under the country’s surging economic power. Their remarkable transformation builds on immense traditions, having lived through feudal dynasties, semicolonialism, and socialist commands. Studying them offers a lens into both the complex character of the changing city and the Chinese economy, society, and environment.

This text is anchored in the spatial sciences to offer a comprehensive survey of the evolving urban landscape in China. It is divided into four parts, with 13 chapters that can be read together or as stand-alone material. Part I sets the context, describing the geographical setting, China’s historical urban system, and traditional urban forms. Part II covers the urban system since 1949, the rural–urban divide and migration, and interactions with the global economy. Part III outlines the specific sectors of urban development, including economic restructuring, social–spatial transformation, urban infrastructure, and urban land and housing. Finally, part IV showcases urbanism through the lens of the urban environment, lifestyle and social change, and urban governance.

The Chinese City offers a critical understanding of China’s urbanization,exploring how the complexity of the Chinese city both conforms to and defies conventional urban theories and experience of cities elsewhere around the world. This comprehensive book contains a wealth of up-to-date statistical information, case studies, and suggested further reading to demonstrate the diversity of urban life in China.

chapter |8 pages


part |2 pages

Part I History and context

chapter 1|17 pages

Geographical setting

chapter 2|20 pages

The historical urban system

chapter 3|21 pages

Traditional urban forms

part |2 pages

Part II Urbanization

chapter 4|22 pages

The urban system since 1949

chapter 6|20 pages

Cities in the global economy

part |2 pages

Part III Urban development

chapter 8|24 pages

Social–spatial transformation

chapter 9|19 pages

Urban infrastructure

chapter 10|22 pages

Urban land and housing

part |2 pages

Part IV Urban life

chapter 11|22 pages

Environmental quality and sustainability

chapter 12|18 pages

Lifestyle and social change

chapter 13|16 pages

Urban governance and civil society