Course Code


Course Name

Urban China


Fridays 15:30-18:15




Prof. Chung Wai Keung

Teaching Assistant

Mavis Siu

Course Description

This course is to review the process of urbanization in China with an emphasis on changes in the last few decades, and to investigate how this process has transformed Chinese society. Starting with an urban population of no more than 20% in the 1950s, China has turned into an urbanized country with more than 50% of her citizens living in an urban environment. What has happened during this process? What has changed? How did the urbanization process affect the lives of the Chinese? How do we characterize urbanization in China and how does it differ from the same process in other social settings?

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction: Urbanism and the Rise of Urban China

Week 2: Before the Reform: Danwei / Work Unit Urbanism 

Week 3: Reform to Present: Xiaoqu and Gated Communities 

Week 4: Urban Neighborhood Governance: Now and Then

Week 5: The Rise of Urban Middle Class

Week 6: The Urban-Rural Divide: Moving from Rural to Urban, Hukou, Internal Migration

Week 7: A Divided Urbanism 

Week 8: The New Chinese Metropolis: Shanghai 

Week 9: Urban Consumption 

Week 10: Housing Consumption, Spatial Differentiation and Residential Inequalities in
Urban China

Week 11: Skyscrapers, Mega-events and City Branding 

Week 12: Gentrification in Urban China 

Week 13: China’s State-led Urbanization/ Politics of Urban Development 


Assessment & Assignments

Attendance and Participation 10%
Group project 30%
Reading Journals (Two journals each 10%) 20%
Final Individual Paper 40%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the
disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations.
Details may be found at
With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware
of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.
• In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the
declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of
whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or
indirectly, to the problematic contents.
• For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally textbased and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued
by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.
Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.
Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.
The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g.
to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be
regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to
reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is
problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained
prior to the submission of the piece of work.