Chinese cities are growing at a rate that is unprecedented in human history. The nation scrapped a Soviet-style economy for a market-based and city-based strategy that resulted in 390 million people moving from rural areas into cities during an economic boom unlike any the world has seen. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, since the 1980s, China has built more skyscrapers, malls, hotels, highways, bridges, tunnels, houses and apartments than all other countries combined. Between 1990 and 2011, in the city of Shanghai alone, the new construction area totaled more than 24 billion square feet of floor space, the equivalent of more than 9,000 Empire State Buildings. The participants in this symposium, which will include a selected group of scholars from China, will consider the question: “Who decides?” This deceptively simply query in fact points to a range of difficult historical, cultural, social, and political issues that China faces and that are concentrated in the growth of the new Chinese city.
Sponsored by the Carolina Asia Center, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program on Chinese Cities, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. This event is free and open to the public.