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The City in ChinaNew Perspectives on Contemporary Urbanism$
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Ray Forrest, Julie Ren, and Bart Wissink

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205473

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205473.001.0001

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Urbanization and Economic Development

Urbanization and Economic Development

Comparing the Trajectories of China and the United States

(p.101) 6 Urbanization and Economic Development
The City in China

Jan Nijman

Policy Press

This essay uses Robert Park’s The City as an inspiration for a comparison of urban America around 1915 with urban China a hundred years later. The focus is not so much on the social fabric of the city but rather on a comparison of the process of urbanization in relation to economic development in the US and China in their respective historical contexts. It is suggested that both American writings in urban studies in the early 20th century and Chinese writings in the early 21st century are decidedly inward-looking. In both instances, there was a strong correlation between urbanization and industrialization, but the paths start to diverge in terms of the effects of deindustrialization and the timing of the emergence of the digital economy. Demographically, too, there are important differences that suggest further divergence in the urban experience of China and the United States in the years ahead.

Keywords:   China, United States, Urbanization, Economic development, Comparative

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