China becomes urban nation at breakneck speed. Reforms since 82 done right, not like Soviet Union or Eastern Europe.
“It’s the nature of urban management in China that you go into a city and there are eight-lane roads that end in a field.”
This is the year China finally became an urban nation. In April the census revealed that 49.7% of its 1.34bn population was living in cities, compared with around a fifth as economic reforms got off the ground in 1982.
By now, China’s urbanites outnumber their country cousins.
“The process they have been going through over three decades took four or five decades in Japan and [South] Korea and 100 years in the west
It is not only the extraordinary speed that is “unprecedented and unparalleled”,
“It represents the most managed process of urbanisation in human history.
The state is involved in every way. It manages the building of new cities. It regulates the housing of internally displaced people. It responds actively and sometimes oppressively to new waves of squatters.”
The new five-year plan pushes urbanisation even further, as the government seeks to raise living standards and promote development in the poorer central and western regions
By 2025, 350 million more people will have moved to cities; more than the population of the US.
2030 the urban population will top 1 billion.
There will be 221 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants; Europe currently has 35.
The number of new skyscrapers could equate to 10 New York cities.
The impact will be felt worldwide: in prices for commodities such as steel and copper, and in greenhouse gas emissions.