Chinese Cities: Their Amazing Rise and Possible Futures

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Event Description: 

Richard T LeGates in Conversation with Michael Lerner
Free event

Since China's "reform and opening up" beginning in the late 1970s, China has had double-digit gross domestic product (GDP) growth almost every year, including close to a 50% increase in GDP since the global economic crisis began in 2007. In addition to its role as the world’s manufacturing center, China is metamorphosing itself into a global financial center, and, increasingly, a center of innovation. Not only does it produce everyday items crowding Walmart and Target shelves, China now produces much of the world's wind and solar energy equipment, much of world's advanced IT hardware and an increasing percentage of software. From an impoverished rural country where more than 80% of the population engaged in near-subsistence farming, half of China’s population now live in cities. In the last 20 years, new cities like Shenzhen and even parts of existing cities like Shanghai have added populations larger than New York, London, or Paris. Hundreds of thousands of "hollowed out" villages are now inhabited by only the elderly, infirm, and children of absent parents as a "floating population" of more than 200 million has poured into employment centers in coastal China.

What are the impacts of China’s urban transformation on the ground? In what ways is China’s urbanization different from urbanization in other countries and at other times? What is urban planning in China like? What are China’s greatest urban planning accomplishments, failures, and challenges for the future? Join us for this discussion of China’s urbanization and China’s urban future.

Richard LeGates is a professor emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University and an authority or urbanization and city and regional planning. Earlier in 2012 he was a visiting professor of urban planning at Tongji University in Shanghai and Renmin University in Beijing and a Fulbright scholar at the Technical Institute of Bandung, Indonesia.

Posted by: 
Kyra Epstein

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