Getting it Right: Financing Urban Development in China
China is the world’s most populous country. For some years, China has sustained a remarkably fast rate of economic growth. Despite the forests of construction cranes so often noted by visiting foreigners, however, China remains to a surprising extent a rural country, with only about one-third of its population living in urban areas. But China’s cities are growing rapidly, and within a decade half or more of its population will be urban. In addition to urbanizing less rapidly than would normally be expected for its growth rate, the pattern of urban growth in China during its recent rapid economic expansion has also not followed that found in other countries. In particular, contrary to experience in most of the world, its largest urban centers have on the whole grown less rapidly than the urban sector as a whole. Moreover, in some critical respects the internal pattern of growth within Chinese cities has also deviated from what economic logic would suggest is sensible – although in this respect at least its experience is not too different to what has been seen elsewhere.
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