The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunites as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contemporary China Studies. The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China is a two-volume exploration of the transformations of contemporary China, firmly grounded in the both disciplinary and China-specific contexts. Drawing on a range of scholarly approaches found in the social sciences and history, an international team of contributors engage with the question of what a rapidly changing China means for the broader field of contemporary China studies, and identify areas of promising future research. Part 1: Context: History, Economy, and the Environment Part 2: Economic Transformations Part 3: Politics and Government Part 4: China on the Global Stage Part 5: China's Foreign Policy Part 6: National and Nested Identities Part 7: Urbanization and Spatial Development Part 8: Poverty and Inequality Part 9: Social Change Part 10: Future Directions for Contemporary China Studies

Urbanization and Urban System

Urbanization and Urban System

Urbanization and Urban System
Chaolin Gu Ian Gillespie Cook


The pace and scale of China's contemporary urbanization is stunning. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are now among the global pacesetters, known worldwide for their dramatic cityscapes and events. Throughout China, the ancient rurality of traditional Chinese life and society is being transformed into modern urbanity via the growth of cities. This chapter draws upon China's urbanization and evolution of the urban system based on in-depth experience of, and research on, urban growth and development to summarize key features of this unprecedented urbanization and to analyze concerns arising from it.

Measuring Urban and Urbanization

Definitions of ‘urban’ and ‘urbanization’ vary tremendously, whether based on ...

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