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Chinese urbanization 2050: SD modeling and process simulation

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Abstract

Is Chinese urbanization going to take a long time, or can its development goal be achieved by the government in a short time? What is the highest stable urbanization level that China can reach? When can China complete its urbanization? To answer these questions, this paper presents a system dynamic (SD) model of Chinese urbanization, and its validity and simulation are justified by a stock-flow test and a sensitivity analysis using real data from 1998 to 2013. Setting the initial conditions of the simulation by referring to the real data of 2013, the multi-scenario analysis from 2013 to 2050 reveals that Chinese urbanization will reach a level higher than 70% in 2035 and then proceed to a slow urbanization stage regardless of the population policy and GDP growth rate settings; in 2050, Chinese urbanization levels will reach approximately 75%, which is a stable and equilibrium level for China. Thus, it can be argued that Chinese urbanization is a long social development process that will require approximately 20 years to complete and that the ultimate urbanization level will be 75–80%, which means that in the distant future, 20–25% of China’s population will still settle in rural regions of China.

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Acknowledgements

It was first presented at the Symposium on Rethinking China’s Urbanization in the University of Ottawa on 24–25 October, 2015. This work was supported by the Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China “the SD model and threshold value prediction of the interactive coupled effects between urbanization and eco-environment in mega-urban agglomerations” (Grant No. 41590844) and the Independent Research Program of Tsinghua University (Grant No. 2015THZ01).

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Correspondence to ChaoLin Gu.

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Gu, C., Guan, W. & Liu, H. Chinese urbanization 2050: SD modeling and process simulation. Sci. China Earth Sci. 60, 1067–1082 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-016-9022-2

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