Posts Tagged: Chinese Urbanism



Chinese Urbanism, Part 1 – The Sunday Stats with Nick Chu

Note: Nick Chu is presently on vacation in China but still managed to smuggle the follow observations out from behind The Great Firewall.

South Street in Xi'an. A dynamic mixture of construction cranes, ancient monuments, public transport (BRT), cars, bicycles and pedestrians often seen in many Chinese cities. Image by Nick Chu.

A quick look at some of the things that make urbanism in China work (or not) – all stats from The Concrete Dragon by Thomas J. Campanella:

Percentage of Chinese population living in cities at the founding of the PRC in 1949: 10.6%

Number of cities in China in 1949: 58

In 1978: 193

In 1999: 667

Number of rural migrants to Chinese cities from 1949 – 1956: 35 million

Estimated number of people who died during the 1960’s famine in China: 30 million (greater than the number of deaths caused by the European Black Death plague in the Middle Ages)

Percentage of Chinese population living in cities by 1960: 20%

By 1990: 27%

By 2006: 40%

By 2030 (estimated): 60%

Number of rural migrant workers presently in China: 140 million (equivalent to 5 times the number of undocumented Mexican nationals currently in the United States)

Annual salary of a rural migrant worker in Shanghai in 2002: 3,560 renminbi

In rural areas: 920 renminbi

Number of bicycles in China in 1990: 540 million

Percentage decrease in bicycle ownership between 2001 and 2006: 26%

Number of Chinese traffic fatalities in 2000: 83,000

Percentage of traffic fatalities in 2000 involving bicycles: 33%

Typical number of Americas travelling during Thanksgiving: 65 million

Number of Chinese worldwide travelling during New Year Holiday: 2 billion

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