Project Description


“Sustainable Urbanisation in China: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Mega-trends towards 2050” (URBACHINA) combines the knowledge and expertise from a number of different disciplines to provide new and innovative insights and scenarios that can contribute to guiding the urbanization process in China over the next 40 years. The project is organized around four main themes:

  • The institutional foundations and policies for urbanisation
  • The issue of land property in urbanisation and the development of real estate markets in cities
  • The need for environmental infrastructures delivering connectivity and services for the urban population
  • The relationships between urban development, traditions, and modern lifestyles in cities

These four topics are treated as different layers within a comprehensive analysis of a single process – urbanisation in China- that links historical experiences, comparative dimensions and possible future scenarios. This framework provides a firm foundation for multi-faced interactions between scholars, officials and business in Europe and China. It also provides the basis for extensive dissemination of URBACHINA outputs using a variety of media designed to engage policy makers and ordinary citizens.
A key strength of the project is the use of ‘thematic pairs’ of European and Chinese researchers who must lead and deliver the research and dissemination associated with work packages organized around the key themes identified in the Call. Each work package team comprises leading experts who will utilize state-of-the-art knowledge, methods and techniques from economic geography, anthropology and history to test a suite of hypotheses founded on historical and comparative perspectives on urbanisation trends and process in the EU and China.

The project wants to:
  • Enhance the common understanding of urbanisation trends in both China and Europe, emphasising an interdisciplinary interpretation of the drivers of change, and the collection of new integrated data;
  • Contribute to the identification of the main dimensions of urban sustainability, through the testing of hypotheses and the structuring of an indicator framework;
  • Propose a range of visions/scenarios of more or less sustainable urban futures for China as a basis for discussion, dissemination and further collaborative research; and
  • Strengthen the collaboration between Chinese and EU research institutions and contribute  to the establishment of a durable RTD network in the field of social sciences and humanities.

For more information, please visit the project website.

*Funded by the European Commission

  • Provide an updated, thorough assessment of the current state of play of the urbanization process in China, along the four main research areas of the project. The assessment includes the analysis of past and current megatrends and of the associated challenges, along with a critical appraisal of past and present urban policies
  • Outline scenarios of future urbanization, exploring possible futures and their implications in terms of the policies and measures to achieve them
  • Offer comparative EU/China analyses of past and current urbanization processes
  • Develop case studies on four Chinese cities: Shanghai, Chonqing, Kunming and Huangshan
  • Recommendations for the enhancement/improvement of University Curricula in the field of Urban studies

  • Overall management of the project, including administrative and operative aspects and cross-thematic integration activities.
  • Contribute to the “Environment and health infrastructure and services” workpackage, working in close collaboration with ICS in order to explore the sustainability dimension of urban infrastructure and service requirements
  • Participate in the “Dissemination” activities, in particular by reviewing and recommending improvements to University level syllabuses on urbanisation.

  • ISIS
  • CNRS
  • Huada
  • DRC
  • SERU
  • CASS
  • LSE
  • CAS
  • ICS