Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1994, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (6): 533-542.doi: 10.11821/xb199406007

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NEW PROGRESS IN CHINA’S URBAN GEOGRAPHY

Yan Xiaopei   

  1. Centre for Urban & Regional Xtudies,Zhongshan Uniuersity
  • Online:1994-11-15 Published:1994-11-15

Abstract: This paper focuses on the systematic and overall literature review on China’s urban geography in rrecent years,especially paying attetion to the progress in new themes and the generalization of the major arguments.The main themes involved in the paper are:1.Urbanization─its process and dynamics,occupation transfer of surplus rural labour force,and migration.The five periods of Chinese urbanization were generally identified:early industrialization in 1949-1957,rapid urbanization resulted from the industrialization in 1959-60,the first anti- urbanization accompanying with the industrial restructuring in 1961-1965,the second anti-urbanization following a stand still of economic system in 1978.The main forces stimulating Chinese urbanization or population concentration are concluded as:(1)construction of new cities and renewl of old ones invested by the state;(2)development of rural industries invested by the collectives and individuals in rural areas. thus Chinese urbanization could be considered to be a dual urbanization. The occupation transfer of surplus rural labour force is one of the interesting research topics in the academic circles.The dominant channel of occupation transfer has been identifed as the surplus rural labour force being engaged in non-agricultural activities on the spot,so that the development of Chinese urbanization has a model of rural industrial towns’ which has been called’ rural urbanization’.Since the late 1970s, rural people have migrated to urban places at a much higher rate than before and have showed a tendency of increasingly moving into cities。 The general direction of population movement has changed from the relatively sparsely-populated areas in the west and north to the densely-populated southeastern provinces. And the previous planning-dominated migration has been gradually replaced by the spontaneous movement,which has resulted in an increasing floating population in cities. 2. the debate on urban development policy. For a long time,China has adopted a policy of controlling big cities and developing small cities and towns’But the policy has had increasingly severe conflict with the economic growth during the introdcucution of market- oriented economy.Therefore a debate about the roads for Chinese urbanization occurred.Three roads,which are developing small sities and towns,developing big cities,and developing medium-sized cities,have been argued.The ar guments led to the studies on small cities and towns,and big cities。 Although the national policy put the emphasis on controlling big cities,Chinese big cities have still been expanded and increased at an irresistible rate.In 1990 the government put forward a more strict policy of controlling big cities. Some scholars doubted if the new policy can guide urban construction effectively. 3. Type of urban system and change of city- size distribution,spatial distribution,function structure,regional urban systems and urban clusters.Many studies indicated that the city-size distribution of Chinese cities were characterized by rank-size.Urban primacy showed a tendency of decline and the rank-size curve was levelling and smoothing. Generally speaking,Chinese cities are mainly located in the east,clustering in the major plain deltaes and along the transport arteries.The city density gradually declines from the east to the west.The study on the function structure is in its infancy,concentrating on the classification of basic function types of cities,the system of function alignment,and the spatial alignment types of urban functions. Following the studies of the national system,the regional and provincial urban systems have been paid more attention to and have been closely combined with the regional and territorial plannings.Furthermore,urban geographers have turned their attention to the urban clusters or megalopolises in chian, analysing their formation and evolution stages,types,characteristics,devlopment models,etc.4.Urban internal spatial structure- morphology evolution,function zoning,commercial location,CBD,social spatial stru

Key words: Urban geography, Urbanization, Policies for urban development, Urban system, Spatial structure with cities