Sunday, 20 of April of 2014


The Chinese City. Weiping Wu and Piper Gaubatz. London and New York: Routledge, October 2012 (read a feature on the book here and view a presentation on YouTube).

China’s cities are home to 10 per cent of the world’s population today. They display unprecedented dynamism under the country’s surging economic power, and they challenge conventional urban theories and experiences of cities elsewhere. Their remarkable transformation builds on immense traditions, having lived through feudal dynasties, semi-colonialism, and socialist commands. Studying them offers a lens into both the complex character of the changing city and the Chinese economy, society, and environment.

This text is anchored in the spatial sciences to offer a comprehensive survey of the evolving urban landscape in China. It is divided into four parts with 13 chapters that can be read together or as stand alone material. Part I sets the context, describing the geographical setting, China’s historical urban system, and traditional urban forms. Part II covers the urban system since 1949, the rural-urban divide and migration, and interactions with the global economy. Part III outlines the specific sectors of urban development, including economic restructuring, social-spatial transformation, urban infrastructure, and urban land and housing. Finally, Part IV showcases urbanism through the lens of the urban environment, lifestyle and social change, and urban governance.

The Chinese City offers a critical understanding of China’s urbanization. This comprehensive book contains a wealth of up to date statistical information, case studies, and suggested further reading to demonstrate the diversity of urban life in China.

Facets of Globalization: International and Local Dimensions of Development (link has downloadable file for entire book). Shahid Yusuf, Simon Evenett and Weiping Wu, eds. Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2001, 278 pp.

The chapters in this volume underscore the transformative role of globalization and urbanization, and show the interplay between these forces. Trade reform and liberalized foreign investment regimess have contributed to the spatial reallocation of economic activity toward cities, especially those cities that can attract and nurture human capital and strong connections to other markets.

Local Dynamics in a Globalizing World (link has downloadable file for entire book). Shahid Yusuf, Weiping Wu and Simon Evenett, editors. New York: Oxford University Press, for the World Bank, 2000.

This is a companion volume to the World Development Report 1999/2000 and it assembles a selection of papers that relate to the unfolding of local dynamics in an increasingly integrated world environment. The report consists of 21 chapters, under four themes: a) the world of globalizing forces; b) managing urbanization in a globalizing world; c) making decentralization work in a global economy; and d) building competitive cities for the 21st century.

Pioneering Economic Reform in China’s Special Economic Zones: The Promotion of Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 1999. (read a review)

The major theme of the book is that spatial placement and unique planning activities are more important in explaining their performance than is acknowledged in existing literature. The significant growth of foreign investment has been primarily a positive function of proximity to major sources, in physical, economic, cultural and political terms; and has been positively related to the favourable local policy environment. Labour cost differentials and domestic market potential, in contrast to traditional ‘neoclassical’ investment theory, have only been residual factors.

The Dynamics of Urban Growth in Three Chinese Cities (link has downloadable file for entire book). Shahid Yusuf and Weiping Wu. New York: Oxford University Press, for the World Bank, 1997. (read a review)

This book compares three cities–Shanghai, Tianjin, and Guangzhou–in the context of the changes that swept China’s economy, history, and reform programs from the early 1980s through the mid 1990s. The authors consider the interplay among geography, size, and industrial structure that determines the industrial vigor of cities, concluding that each of these factors must be made to work for the city through effective policymaking.