Urbanisation in China – Patterns and Governance

Hosted by LSE Works: Institute of Global Affairs 

Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House,


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Professor Athar Hussain

Professor Athar Hussain

Professor Jude Howell

Professor Jude Howell


Professor Fulong Wu

Professor Fulong Wu



Professor Kent Deng

Professor Kent Deng

As elsewhere, urbanisation in China consists of two processes. One is a rising share of urban population driven by rural-to-urban migration and the other is expanding urban footprint.

China’s urban population is growing every year by 20 million - roughly a city the size of London and Paris combined together. This has gone together with a breathless expansion of the area covered by towns and cities.

Chinese urbanisation take on particular forms because of two particular institutions: the household registration system (hukou), and public ownership of land.  

A distinctive feature of the governance of Chinese towns and cities is the nationwide network of grass-roots autonomous organisations to manage and run the daily life of urban communities.

Stephan Feuchtwang is an emeritus professor of the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has been engaged in research on mainland China and Taiwan since 1966. He also participated in the EU research project on urbanisation in China. 

Athar Hussain is Professorial Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has a long experience of research on China and participated in a four year research project on urbanisation in China funded by the EU. 

Jude Howell is Professor in the Department of International Development at the LSE. She has carried out field research in China, India, Mozambique, Kenya, central Asia and Afghanistan. She has advised and consulted widely for international development agencies.

Fulong Wu is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London. He is widely regarded as the leading authority on urbanisation in China. He was awarded 2013 Outstanding International Impact Prize by the UK ESRC. 

Kent Deng is Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

The Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) (@LSEIGA) creates a dedicated space for research, policy engagement and teaching across multiple disciplines to pioneer locally-rooted responses to global challenges.

LSE Works is a series of public lectures, that will showcase some of the latest research by LSE's academic departments and research centres. In each session, LSE academics will present key research findings, demonstrating where appropriate the implications of their studies for public policy. A list of all the LSE Works lectures can be viewed at LSE Works.

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A copy of Professor Stephan Feuchtwang's powerpoint presentation is available to download. Download 'Work Programme 5 Community Development' (pdf).

A copy of Professor Athar Hussain's powerpoint presentation is available to download. Download 'Politics & Economics of Urbanisation in China' (pdf).

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