China’s cities: faster, bigger, better?

Today Pudong has joined Manhattan and the City of London as one of the world’s foremost business hubs.

Countless other Chinese cities are determined to follow in Shanghai’s steps. Cities have been the engines of China’s economic growth, contributing 70% of its annual gross domestic product. But they are also the stage on which China’s most intense social and environmental struggles are being played out.

The rapid expansion of cities and swelling of urban populations has been the most spectacular feature of China’s rapid economic development over the past two decades. China has become one large construction site: the stock of urban buildings has doubled in a mere five years, reaching almost 15 billion square metres in 2004. In 2005, Shanghai constructed more building space than exists in all the office buildings of New York City. Construction projects in China account for 30% of the global total.

China has become a global laboratory of urban change and an incubator of technological, design and policy innovations. Paradoxically, therefore, China’s urban mayhem has made it the epicentre of global debate on sustainable urbanisation.

Read more at Bangkok Post : Business news. LEO HORN-PHATHANOTHAI

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