The Evolving Urban Form: Tianjin


Tianjin is located on Bohai Gulf, approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Beijing. It was the imperial port of China, by virtue of that proximity. Tianjin also served as one of the most important "treaty ports" occupied and/or controlled by western nations and Japan for various years before 1950.  read more »

Housing Affordability in China


Finally, there is credible housing affordability data from China. For years, analysts have produced "back of the envelope" anecdotal calculations that have been often as inconsistent as they have been wrong.  read more »


The Unrest In Hong Kong And China's Bigger Urban Crisis


The current protests in Hong Kong for democracy reflects only part of the issues facing Chinese cities, as they grow and become ever more sophisticated. In just four decades, China has gone from 17.4 percent to 55.6 percent urban, adding nearly 600 million city residents. And this process is far from over: United Nations projections indicate that over the next 20 years, China’s urban population will increase by 250 million, even as national population growth rates slow and stall.  read more »

Paving Over Hunan? The Portland Model for China


For two centuries, people have crowded into urban areas, seeking higher standards of living than prevail in the rural areas they abandoned. Nowhere is this truer than in China. In just four decades, it has risen from 17.4 percent to 55.6 percent urban, adding nearly 600 million city residents. This has been accomplished while lifting an unprecedented number of people out of poverty.  read more »

Welcome to the Billion-Man Slum


When our urban pundit class speaks of the future of cities, we are offered glittering images of London, New York, Singapore, or Shanghai. In reality, the future for most of the world’s megacities—places with more than 10 million people—may look more like Dhaka, Mumbai, or Kinshasa: dirty, poverty- and disease-ridden, and environmentally disastrous.  read more »

The Problem with Megacities


This is the introduction to a new report from the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University. The report was authored by Joel Kotkin with contributions from Wendell Cox, Ali Modarres, and Aaron M. Renn. Download the full report here (pdf).

No phenomenon more reflects the sheer power and appeal of urbanism than the rise of megacities, which we define as an urban area with more than 10 million residents (defined as areas of continuous urban development).  read more »

Size is not the Answer: The Changing Face of the Global City


This is an exerpt from a new report published by Civil Service College of Singapore, authored by Joel Kotkin with contributions from Wendell Cox, Ali Modarres, and Aaron M. Renn.

Download the full report.

As the world urbanises and more megacities are created, some smaller, focused urban regions are becoming truly critical global hubs, unlike most larger cities, which are simply tied to their national economies. In a new ranking of global cities, CSC Senior Visiting Fellow Joel Kotkin argues that the truly global city is one that is uniquely situated to navigate the global transition to an information-based economy since the influence of industries such as media, culture or technology are the ones that will determine economic power in future. Kotkin also examines the fundamental challenge faced by cities as they achieve global status: the need to balance two identities, a global and a local one. "The world beckons, and must be accommodated, but a city must be more than a fancy theme park, or a collection of elite headquarters and expensive residential towers", he asserts.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Chongqing


No city in the world is so misunderstood by analysts and the press. It is commonly asserted Chongqing is the largest city in the world. In reality it barely makes the top 50, ranking 47th.

Cities (Shi) in China are Regions and Mostly Rural

It is fundamentally a problem of semantics and a failure to comprehend the nuances of urban geography in China. The country is divided into provinces and their equivalents, which are in turn, divided into prefectures, most of which are "shi," "Shi" translates into English as "city."  read more »

Bulgari to Taco Bell: Across China, Buyers Are the Target

Coca-Cola Store; Beijing.jpg

I work for myself, and when I travel to China on business I have the “luxury” of sleeping on trains and in hostels, and getting around during the day by bicycle. This spring I made a circuit from Beijing to Chengdu (in western China), to Wuhan (right in the middle), and to Shanghai (east coast), before heading back to Beijing. Ostensibly I was there to hunt down consumer trends.  read more »


China's Ascent in World Transport


After years of closing the gap with the United States, China built enough freeways in 2013 to amass the greatest length of freeways in the world. Between 2003 and 2013, China expanded its national expressway system, with interstate (motorway in Europe) standard roadways from 30,000 to 105,000 kilometers (18,000 to 65,000 miles). This compares to the 101,000 kilometers (63,000 miles) in the United States in 2012.  read more »