Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2017

Abstract

China is undergoing an urban revolution. In 2011 more than half of the total population resided in cities and towns for the first time in history. Over the last two decades urban China scholars have actively engaged in dialogues with urbanists from different disciplines and different urban contexts. In consequence, urban China studies have embarked on a trail of rapid diversification and proliferation, moving beyond the topics of urbanisation and urban expansion to address a variety of issues echoing the latest developments in the Chinese city. Overall, urban China studies are witnessing a transition from a focus on economic development and spatial changes, to diverse social groups and the multifaceted experiences of living in rapidly changing cities. This virtual special issue (VSI) summarises the progress of urban China studies since the Economic Reform was launched in the 1970s. On the one hand, it delineates a broad picture of intellectual advancement and knowledge production in the field of urban China research. On the other hand, it identifies some emerging new themes that have not been well represented but are of potentially great significance in the comprehension and theorisation of Chinese urbanism. A total of 24 articles published in Urban Studies have been selected to represent, albeit in necessarily circumscribed form, the scope of urban China studies in this journal. They are distributed across four well-established themes: (1) globalisation and the making of global cities; (2) land and housing development; (3) urban poverty and socio-spatial inequality; (4) rural migrants and their urban experiences. We also highlight three emerging frontiers: (1) urban fragmentation, enclaves and public space; (2) consumption, middle class aestheticisation and urban culture; (3) the right to the city and urban activism. The editorial concludes by identifying some key gaps in the extant literature and some potentially productive future directions.

Keywords

market transition, micro-scale investigations, rural-urban migration, urban China studies, urban difference, urban theory, urbanisation, urbanism

Discipline

Asian Studies | Urban Studies

Publication

Urban Studies

Volume

54

Issue

4

First Page

827

Last Page

846

ISSN

0042-0980

Identifier

10.1177/0042098016675826

Publisher

SAGE Publications (UK and US)

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1177/0042098016675826

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