Read the article by Carolyn Cartier, University of Technology Sydney and Hu De, East China Normal University. Carolyn Cartier and Hu De, discuss China’s plan for national urbanization. Focusing on Chongqing, they reveal a pattern small city urbanization that is closely tied to local market economies. Read the full article here: https://regions.regionalstudies.org/ezine/article/building-relationships-between-cities-and-towns-in-china-the-emerging-city-system-in-chongqing/
‘State-led Urbanization of Towns in China’
In 2014 the Chinese government issued the ‘New-type Urbanization Plan’ based on ‘the great significance of urbanization for economic and social development’. Urbanization and the industrial production and consumption on which it depends constitute the basis of China’s contemporary domestic growth. Most translations of the 2014 plan shorten its name to ‘New Urbanization Plan’ but ‘new-type’ indicates a qualitative shift to ‘city-town-ization’ (chengzhenhua). The plan makes urbanization of towns a new national priority. Will the 2014 Urban Plan drive the next round of urban-economic growth in China?
The urbanization of towns raises questions about relations of scale in the Chinese governing hierarchy as well as transformation of historical economies and populations. How are towns being developed and integrated with emerging city-regions? In China’s hierarchical system of administrative divisions, towns exist at the lowest of four main levels. In addition, the state periodically changes the administrative divisions to suit urban plans and goals. This project conceptualizes dynamics between cities and towns through these administrative-territorial relationships. The research design incorporates a state-market analysis to assess to what degree the state is leading urbanization in less-developed areas by merging and rescaling towns to establish larger governing areas for urban growth. In the context of the spatio-temporality of planning in China, in which national plans generalize successful changes taking place in one or more regions, the empirical analysis targets Chongqing, a province-level city in central-western China where town mergers took place in 2006. The project develops new qualitative and quantitative on Chongqing for the decade to 2017, including housing, economic zones, and conditions of historical markets, to document how territorial change sets the stage for economic growth while identifying differences and contingencies between state and market-led urbanization.