Category Archives: Urbanization

Legacy of the Rural-Urban Divide: Urban Villages (城中村)

One of the more unique features of Chinese cities is the phenomenon of “urban villages”. These are former rural areas that, with rapid urbanization and rural-urban migration, have been enveloped by ever expanding cities. What once was farmland is sold … Continue reading

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Beijing’s Urban Form Conundrum

For all the capital’s draws as a center of history, culture and politics, and despite the palpable sense of energy that comes from being at the heart of a country on the rise, Beijing is not a particularly livable city. … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Urbanization | Leave a comment

Of Buildings and Real-Estate

Construction, real-estate, and housing are on my mind this week. First, Beijing’s real-estate prices have been dropping steadily in recent months. This week many papers are carrying stories about bored and out of work real-estate agents as well as sob … Continue reading

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Urban Planning and Chinese Society

There’s a connection to be made between urban planning and the state of Chinese society. A couple of quotes recently drew my attention to how the design of cities is a deep reflection of social values. Take the comments of … Continue reading

Posted in Armchair Theorizing, Politics, Government, Law, Etc., Urbanization | 1 Comment

Epcot Center

Almost every Chinese city has one: a mock-ancient village that is part tourist attraction, part shopping mall, and part culture exhibition center. Yesterday, I went to Tianjin’s version, Ancient Culture Street. The place is meticulously planned. At it’s entrance stands … Continue reading

Posted in Armchair Theorizing, Arts and Culture, Social Phenomena, Urbanization | Leave a comment