Fulong Wu (2022). Creating Chinese Urbanism: Urban revolution and governance changes. UCLPress.

Creating Chinese Urbanism describes the landscape of urbanisation in China, revealing the profound impacts of marketisation on Chinese society and the consequential governance changes at the grassroots level.

During the imperial and socialist periods, state and society were embedded. However, as China has been becoming urban, the territorial foundation of ‘earth-bound’ society has been dismantled. This metaphorically started an urban revolution, which has transformed the social order derived from the ‘state in society’. The state has thus become more visible in Chinese urban life.

Besides witnessing the breaking down of socially integrated neighbourhoods, Fulong Wu explains the urban roots of a rising state in China. Instead of governing through autonomous stakeholders, state-sponsored strategic intentions remain. In the urban realm, the desire for greater residential privacy does not foster collectivism. State-led rebuilding of residential communities has sped up the demise of traditionalism and given birth to a new China with greater urbanism and state-centred governance.

Taking the vantage point of concrete residential neighbourhoods, Creating Chinese Urbanism offers a cutting-edge analysis of how China is becoming urban and grounds the changing state governance in the process of urbanization. Its original and material interpretation of the changing role of the state in China makes it suitable reading for researchers and students in the fields of urban studies, geography, planning and the built environment.

51Rn9bxAc3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Fulong Wu (2015). Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China. Routledge.

Urban and Regional Planning in China provides an overview of the changes in China’s planning system, policy, and practices using concrete examples and informative details in language that is accessible enough for the undergraduate but thoroughly grounded in a wealth of research and academic experience to support academics. It is the first accessible text on changing urban and regional planning in China under the process of transition from a centrally planned socialist economy to an emerging market in the world.

Fulong Wu, a leading authority on Chinese cities and urban and regional planning, sets up the historical framework of planning in China including its foundation based on the proactive approach to economic growth, the new forms of planning, such as the ‘strategic spatial plan’ and ‘urban cluster plans’, that have emerged and stimulated rapid urban expansion and transformed compact Chinese cities into dispersed metropolises. And goes on to explain the new planning practices that began to pay attention to eco-cities, new towns and new development areas.

Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China demonstrates that planning is not necessarily an ‘enemy of growth’ and plays an important role in Chinese urbanization and economic growth. On the other hand, it also shows planning’s limitations in achieving a more sustainable and just urban future.

The link to the publisher site: here

Five articles in a special issue in Urban Planning International, a leading journal in the field of urban planning and studies in China, written by senior planners and researchers in China, discuss the significance and implication of this book. You can find their articles here (in Chinese).

Fulong Wu: 学术批评后的思考——基于对《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》的评述 [pdf]

Hongyang Wang: 整体主义与空间的政治经济学的本质—— 评《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》[pdf]

Xiangming Ma: 来自另外一面的审视——《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》读后 [pdf]

Hongsheng Chen and Zhigang Li: 一个关于中国规划的故事 —— 评《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》[pdf]

Xiaohui Chen: 适应时代发展需求的规划 ——《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》书评 [pdf]

Jingxiang Zhang and Hao Chen: 增长主义视角下的中国城市规划解读—— 评《为增长而规划 :中国城市与区域规划》[pdf]


Wu, F., Zhang, F., & Webster, C. (Eds.). (2013). Rural Migrants in Urban China. Routledge.

After millions of migrants moved from China’s countryside into its sprawling cities a unique kind of ‘informa’ urban enclave was born – ‘villages in the city’. Like the shanties and favelas before them elsewhere, there has been huge pressure to redevelop these blemishes to the urban face of China’s economic vision. Unlike most developing countries, however, these are not squatter settlements but owner-occupied settlements developed semi-formally by ex-farmers turned small-developers and landlords who rent shockingly high-density rooms to rural migrants, who can outnumber their landlord villagers. A strong state, matched with well-organised landlords collectively represented through joint-stock companies, has meant that it has been relatively easy to grow the city through demolition of these soft migrant enclaves. The lives of the displaced migrants then enter a transient phase from an informal to a formal urbanity. This book looks at migrants and their enclave ‘villages in the city’ and reveals the characteristics and changes in migrants livelihoods and living places. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book analyses how living in the city transforms and changes rural migrant households, and explores the social lives and micro economies of migrant neighbourhoods. It goes on to discuss changing housing and social conditions and spatial changes in the urban villages of major Chinese cities, as well as looking into transient urbanism and examining the consequences of redevelopment and upgrading of the ‘villages in the city’ in particular, the planning, regeneration, politics of development, and socio-economic implications of these immense social, economic and physical upheavals.


Wu, F., & Webster, C. (2010). Urban Poverty in China. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Urban poverty is an emerging problem. This book explores the household and neighbourhood factors that lead to both the generation and continuance of urban poverty in China. It is argued that the urban Chinese are not a homogenous social group, but combine laid-off workers and rural migrants, resulting in stark contrasts between migrant and workers’ neighbourhoods and villages.


Wu, F. (Eds.). (2006).Globalization and the Chinese City, Routledge

Introducing readers to the far-reaching global orientation that is now taking place in urban China, an international team of contributors describe overarching globalization through a detailed examination of the transformation of the built environment.

A range of urban development processes are analyzed including urbanization, real estate development, changing landscapes, the industrial restructuring of the second-tier city, and the formation of the city-region in the context of global and local interactions. In examining city development and local practices as part of globalization processes, the global city is treated as a collection of microcosms and concrete places, overcoming the analytical tension of the dichotomy of the perceived ‘East versus West’ divide.


Wu, F., Xu, J., & Gar-On Yeh, A. (2006).Urban Development in Post-Reform China: State, Market, and Space, Taylor and Francis

Radically reoriented under market reform, Chinese cities present both the landscapes of the First and Third World, and are increasingly playing a critical role in the country’s economic development. Yet, radical marketization co-exists with the ever-presence of state control. Exploring the interaction of China’s market development, state regulation and the resulting transformation and creation of new urban spaces, this innovative, key book provides the first integrated treatment of China’s urban development in the dynamic market transition.

Focusing on land and housing development, the authors, all renowned authorities in this field, show how the market has been ‘created’ under post-reform urban conditions, and examine ‘the state in action’, highlighting how changing urban governance towards local entrepreneurial state facilitates market formation. A significant, original contribution, they highlight the key actors and their institutional contexts.

China has been very successful in using urban land development as an economic growth engine, and here the authors investigate complex interactions between the market and state in creating this new urbanism. Taking a unique perspective, they marshal original ideas and empirical work based on field studies and collaborative work with colleagues in China.


Ma, L.J.C. & Wu, F. (Eds.) (2004) Restructuring the Chinese City: Changing Society, Economy and Space, Taylor and Francis.

A sea of change has occurred in China since the 1978 economic reforms. Bringing together the work of leading scholars specializing in urban China, this book examines what has happened to the Chinese city undergoing multiple transformations during the reform era, with an emphasis on new processes of urban formation and the consequent reconstituted urban spaces. With arguments against the convergence thesis that sees cities everywhere becoming more Western in form and suggestions that the Chinese city is best seen as a multiplex city, Restructuring the Chinese City is an indispensable text for Chinese specialists, urban scholars and advanced students in urban geography, urban planning and China studies.