This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding China’s new urban realities and development policies.
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From coordinated to integrated urban and rural development in China’s megacity regions, by Chen Chen, Richard LeGates & Chenhao Fang
Since reform and opening up began in 1978, China has developed and urbanized rapidly, and a dual urban–rural economy has evolved in its megacity regions. Unlike the United States and other countries with neoliberal regimes that rely on the market to adjust economic relations and where there is little explicit national-level planning, China is a regionally decentralized developmental state where government plays a major role in development. Coordinated urban–rural development has been national policy since 2003, and China began to experiment with what is termed integrated urban–rural development in 2006. This article describes coordinated urban–rural development in China’s 2 developing megacity regions with the most advanced coordination programs (Chengdu and Chongqing) and 2 highly urbanized megacity regions with well-developed strategies to integrate city and countryside (Shanghai and Suzhou). It describes 4 models of the coordination process: the municipal government–led top-down model (post-1990 Shanghai), empowering the entrepreneurial township government model (post-2008 Suzhou), the negotiation model (post-2003 Chengdu), and the labor transfer model (post-2003 Chongqing). It discusses the forms that integration of city and countryside have taken in the most advanced Chinese megacity regions and their implications for other cities in China and other developing countries with different characteristics and at different development stages.