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China Today #2: Urban Chinaby Xuefei Ren
Synopses & Reviews
Currently there are more than 125 Chinese cities with a population exceeding one million. The unprecedented urban growth in China presents a crucial development for studies on globalization and urban transformation. This concise and engaging book examines the past trajectories, present conditions, and future prospects of Chinese urbanization, by investigating five key themes - governance, migration, landscape, inequality, and cultural economy.
Based on a comprehensive evaluation of the literature and original research materials, Ren offers a critical account of the Chinese urban condition after the first decade of the twenty-first century. She argues that the urban-rural dichotomy that was artificially constructed under socialism is no longer a meaningful lens for analyses and that Chinese cities have become strategic sites for reassembling citizenship rights for both urban residents and rural migrants.
The book is essential reading for students and scholars of urban and development studies with a focus on China, and all interested in understanding the relationship between state, capitalism, and urbanization in the global context.
China has built hundreds of new cities and urban districts over the past 30 years, and hundreds more are set to be built by 2030. Between now and then, 250 million more rural Chinese will move into cities, bringing the country's urban population up over one billion, as the central government kicks its urbanization initiative into overdrive. The traditional social structures are at an advanced stage of being torn apart, and a rootless, semi-displaced, consumption centric "globalized" culture is rapidly taking its place.
As China redraws its map with new cities it isn't just manufacturing new urban areas but are engineering new culture and way of life. Ghost Cities of China is a dialogue driven, on-location search for an understanding of China's new cities and the reasons why many are currently under populated.
Over the next couple of decades, it is estimated that 250 million Chinese citizens will move from rural areas into cities, pushing the countrys urban population over one billion. China has built hundreds of new cities and urban districts over the past thirty years, and hundreds more are set to be built by 2030 as the central government kicks its urbanization initiative into overdrive. As China redraws its map with new cities, it isn't just creating new urban areas, but also engineering a new culture and way of life. Yet, many of these new cities, such as the infamous Kangbashi and Yujiapu, stand nearly empty, construction having ground to a halt due to the loss of investors and colossal debt.
In Ghost Cities of China, Wade Shepard examines this phenomenon up close. He posits that the shedding of traditional social structures in the country is at an advanced stage, and a rootless, consumption-centric globalized culture is rapidly taking its place. Incorporating interviews and on-the-ground investigation, Ghost Cities of China examines Chinas under-populated modern cities and the countrys overly ambitious building program.
About the Author
Xuefei Ren is assistant professor of sociology and global urban studies at Michigan State University and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 China Urbanized
Chapter 2 Governance
Chapter 3 Landscape
Chapter 4 Migration
Chapter 5 Inequality
Chapter 6 Cultural Economy
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