Planning China, Volume 5, 2006
By Zhan Guo, Jinhua Zhao, Ming Guo
The Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT has paid great attention to the development and planning issues in China ever since China’s economic reforms of the late 1970s. The involvement of DUSP has been extensive, ranging from faculty research projects, joint studios, exchange programs, and joint research labs, to student admissions, training seminars, and workshops. DUSP affiliated scholars, practitioners, and government officials are playing active roles not only in improving our understanding of the complex and large-scale urban development in China, but also in facilitating policy decisions and plan-making in a sustainable and productive way.
idea of having a special issue of Projections on China planning and
development first emerged from the success of the DUSP-sponsored China Planning Network (CPN)
annual conferences held at Harvard (2004) and MIT (2005). The large
number of participants and the enthusiastic response worldwide to these
events made such a journal issue not only feasible but also necessary.
Nevertheless, it is impossible for one volume to cover all the
important topics affecting development and planning in China. The five
selected papers focus on only a few critical issues: conservation,
transportation and land use, location choices, and growth at the urban
fringe. Four papers are by Chinese scholars or students, and only one
paper is by two US scholars. We hope that publication of this issue can
help attract more attention to China from domestically-oriented US
planning educators, students, and practitioners, and will lead to an
increase in high-quality research. If this Volume succeeds in its
purpose, it will recall an ancient Chinese saying: throwing a brick
while returning a jade.
Zhan Guo, Jinhua Zhao, Ming Guo Editors, Projections 5
by Prof. Ralph Gakenheimer
The Chinese city has been in rapid transition for over 25 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down that process of change. The city continues through phase after phase, showing the consequences of changing and expanding economy together with rapidly accommodating institutional response and guidance. Andrew Marshall Hamer wrote in 1993 “the Chinese city is being reinvented.” The reinvention is still going on.
These papers provide a kind of overview of that process and also some interesting indicators of its future. There is a tracking of this uniquely rapid evolution (see Zhou) in urban transportation policy and investment. There is application of the increasingly fine-grained social survey research that exposes the dynamic of revealing social behavior (see Wang, et al.). It took some time for the issue of urban conservation to move in as a feature of contemporary Chinese practice, following recent controversy when redevelopment threatened historic buildings in Beijing. Now the process approaches a broader collaborative stakeholder approach to the problem (see Qian).
There is a good deal of urban transportation in this issue, reasonably because economic adjustments together with rapid urban growth have entailed very high transport investments and dramatic shifts in the locations of travel demand. The impacts of these investments—highways and public transit—on the shape of urban land development have also been dramatic. This is specially affected in the Chinese case by the capability of government to manage the land use side of the land use-transportation interaction, as documented here by Pan and Zhang. And, of course, much of this development is taking place at the turbulent urban fringe, where cities are eating up contiguous agricultural land at a rapid rate, allegedly exploiting the interests of contiguous rural work groups. This is a phenomenon so apparent that it got high profile comment in a recent Economist review article. Abramson and Anderson in this issue attempt to advance solutions to this problem to the level of community enabling.
The span here encompasses a broad and assertive scope of observation, interpretation and expectation for dynamic change in the Chinese city. I recommend it highly for your reading.
1. Andrew Marshal Hamer. China: Urban Land Management in an Emerging Market Economy, A World Bank Country Study, Washington D.C. 1993
2. “Balancing Act: A Survey of China”, The Economist, March 25-31, 2006
Table of Contents
Introduction To Volume 5: Planning China
Planning For The Urban Edge In Quanzhou, Fujian:
Rail Transit Shaping Urban Travel And Land Use:
Toward A Collaborative Approach To Urban Conservation Planning In China: An Analysis With Reference To Quanzhou
China’s Urban Transportation Since 1978:
Design + Layout
Lawrence J. Vale
Many Thanks To
Songya Y Huang, Shannon A. Mckay, Ryan A M Tam, Andrew