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China’s urbanization in 1949–2015: Processes and driving forces

Abstract

The pace and scale of China’s contemporary urbanization are stunning. This paper reviews process and the underlying driving forces of China’s urbanization between 1949–2015. Contemporary China’s urbanization has experienced four stages, and each has had different driving forces: 1) economic re-construction and industrialization-led urbanization (1949–1977); 2) economic reform and market-led urbanization (1978–1995); 3) economic globalization and the global-local urbanization (1996–2010); and 4) the land-economy-led urbanization (2010–). These urbanization processes and driving forces will undoubtedly provide scientific reference and have significant implications for developing countries, especially African countries, to formulate their urbanization public policies.

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Acknowledgements

The paper was presented in the 3rd BRICS Urbanization Forum, Visakhapatnam, 14–16, September 2016. It is also a byproduct of Chapter 43: Urbanization and China’s urban system for The SAGA Handbook of Contemporary China co-edited by Professor Wu Weiping.

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Correspondence to Chaolin Gu.

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Foundation item: Under the auspices of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41590844), the Independent Research Program of Tsinghai University (No. 2015THZ01)

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Gu, C., Hu, L. & Cook, I.G. China’s urbanization in 1949–2015: Processes and driving forces. Chin. Geogr. Sci. 27, 847–859 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11769-017-0911-9

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Keywords

  • urbanization
  • Contemporary China
  • urbanization level
  • urbanization process
  • driving forces
  • public policies