UC Foundation
  China’s Urbanisation – Cracks in the system?

China is an unusual case in its process of rapid urbanisation. Since 1980, more than 500 million people have moved to cities bringing the urban population beyond the all significant 50% urban threshold and yet its cities have not become synonymous with slums and informal settlements as can be seen in many rapidly growing cities across India, Africa and parts of Latin America. This is in part due to huge sums of infrastructural spending by the government. However, the situation is far from successful and as this article in The Economist highlights, China still has a long way to go… The case in point is Shangsha East Village: a maze of alleys framed by illegally constructed apartment buildings in the boomtown of Shenzhen. Termed as “China’s Favela’s”, there are at least 200 buildings, up to ten storeys tall. They are separated by only a metre or so, hence the name “handshake buildings”—residents of neighbouring blocks can reach out from their windows and high-five.




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