On 5th and 6th May 2017, the Bartlett School of Planning’s (BSP) China Planning Research Group (CPRG) hosted the 2017 International Conference on China Urban Development in London. One of the largest of its kind outside China, the conference attracted over 230 participants from 17 counties and regions. The conference was supported by BSP; UCL Strategic Partner Funds, Peking University, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR) and Urban Studies. Over 170 papers were presented over two days in 39 parallel sessions, spanning across domains such as economic geography, culture-led urban development, green urbanism, transport planning, socio-environmental justice, livelihood and wellbeing of migrants, housing market, and urban shrinkage. Two of the sessions were dedicated to comparative urban research as a result of this year’s special call for papers that try to grasp China’s urban development through an emerging comparative perspective in critical urban studies.
Featured in the conference were two plenary series sponsored by International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR) and Urban Studies, two of the leading Anglophone outlets of urban China research. Professor Jennifer Robinson from UCL Geography appealed for greater effort to decentre urban theory with the contribution of urban China scholarship in her IJURR keynote presentation titled ‘thinking London from China’, whilst Professor You-tien Hsing from University of California, Berkeley concluded the conference on a high note with her Urban Studies closing keynote presentation on the land-centred urban question in China’s agrarian transformation. 12 specialists and keen observers on Chinese cities also shared their insights and aspirations in two panel discussions on the promises and challenges to advance urban China research in the years to come.