Chinese Urban Transformation: A Tale of Six Cities traces the greatest urban and economic metamorphosis of the modern era

“As late as 2008, the Chinese government was projecting an urbanisation rate of 50 per cent by 2040 but by the end of 2017 the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that the rate had already hit 59 per cent.”

As the authors acknowledge in their preface, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by these numbers, but, they only tell a fragment of the story.

Chinese Urban Transformation: A Tale of Six Cities, by RIBA Publishing and authors Alan Hudson, Dr. Chen Yuanzhi and Dr. He Lisheng, explores the dramatic development of China through six strikingly individual city case studies.

Staggering economists since the 1970s, China’s urbanisation is the most significant example of economic growth, social change and environmental development in the modern world. Using comprehensive research and analysis of current Chinese planning and both historic and recent discussions on urban spaces, this book is essential for any design professional with an interest in working in or breaking into Chinese urban planning and social policy, as well as students of architecture, planning, urban design and engineering.

The book covers the urbanisation process from the planned economy to the reform and its ripple effects, land property rights and the evolution of community governance, to finally investigating the new environmental agenda of China’s ‘Eco Cities.’ The six case studies encompass Shanghai, Nanchang, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Hefei, as the complex dynamic between policy, outlook and the role that urban development plays in China’s view of itself is unravelled, including tensions resulting from rapid social and economic change.

With the Chinese central government’s recent encouragement of its cities to achieve more balance between economic efficiency, social justice and environmental protection, priorities are again shifting alignment, making this book the exciting and insightful first volume in a still transforming history of the world’s fastest transforming urban state.

Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London praises the book:

“The urbanisation of China is one of the great stories of our era. This collection represents a collaborative understanding of what the current and future challenges of Chinese cities are, and how they can best be conceptualised. One of the strongest aspects of this study is its detailed case studies which illustrate the immensity and diversity both of the task China is facing, and of the approaches it is taking to address these.”

Fulong Wu, Bartlett Professor of Planning at UCL comments:

Chinese Urban Transformation is the most comprehensive and lucid presentation of China’s phenomenal urbanisation and urban changes, combining academic rigour and readability for a wider audience. This beautifully illustrated book provides a timely guide for Chinese urban studies.”