• Institute of Geography, Academia Sinica

Online published: 1984-10-15


The large and medium-sized cities (with more than 500 000 and 200 000-500 000 inhabitants respectively, excluding agricultural population who live in cities) develo-ped rapidly since the founding of new China. All of 48 large and 71 medium-sized cities had comprised 63.8% and 22.4% of the nation’s entire city population in 1982, while 126 small cities accounted for only 13.8%. It is necessary to control the size of large cities and to build more small ones actively at the same time. As a populous country with high rural population density, to develop small cities in China will be helpful to the economic, political and cultural progress of the countryside and to the modernization of agriculture. In addition, China has large amounts of towns as the foundations to set up new cities. There had been 116 towns risen to cities during the period of 1949 to 1982, of which 92 were small cities.The provincial and autonomous region’s capitals as well as mining and mining-ma-nufacturing cities were the rapid progressive functional types in 1950s and 1960s. Most of the capitals has been become large cities and will take no remarkable changes in size in the future, except for the medium-sized and small cities as Xining, Yinchun and Lhasa. Mining cities founded fundamentally after liberation. Part of mining-manufa-cturing type of cities were mining on’es initially and develop manufacturing industries in new China, the rest o’f the type were newly founded, and most of which were large and medium size. In the future, both the above industrial cities will develop continuo-usly for further exploitation of various natural resources throughout the country. The largest functional type in China is the capitals of prefecture (zhou, meng), which ac-count for 45% of total Chinese cities. These capitals 70% are small and 30% are me-dium-size. Many of them have fine geographical and communicational situation that may -be arranged as priority project cities.There are also obvious changes having occurred with regard to basic ’features of city size in Chinese different regions. As to the coastal regions (with seven provinces’ and one autonomous region), where small cities developed slowly, but the large ones grew rapidly. To this erid, it is necessary to build more small cities to -improve present structure of city size. In hinterland regions (nine provinces), the new erected cities since liberation surpassed all other regions. Cities developed in these regions are more evenly in all size. The remote border regions in northern and western parts of China (five provinces and four autonomous regions) had been built more new cities than coastal regions until 1982. In some parts of the regions, city (populations are highly ooncenterted in individual large cities such as Lanzhou, Urumqi and Kunming. The most effective way in solving the problem is probably to erect the medium-sized cities.

Cite this article

Sun Pan-shou . THE CHANGES OF CITY SIZE IN NEW CHINA[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1984 , 39(4) : 345 . DOI: 10.11821/xb198404001