Panoramic skyline of Chongqing, Yangtze river, China.

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.


Small- and medium-sized cities have not received enough scholarly attention in China. In fact, these cities have a larger share of urban population than large-sized cities. Therefore, the paper focuses on one such typical medium-sized city in North China named Datong; a resource-reliant city with a long history but undergoing a difficult phase of transformation. Its industrial structure is upgrading from unitary resource-dependence to balanced development, but it is also accompanied by recessive unemployment and a depressed consumption pattern of its residents. Datong’s urban planning generally reflects the ideas of its leaders and often demonstrates high efficiency and execution. However, abrupt change in the leadership has brought new challenges such as constant adjustment and restructuring along with huge investment and financial risks to cities. This model also fully illustrates the self-repairing and error-correcting ability, which is guiding Datong towards sustainable development.

Li, Chenguang, Tao Sun, Lei ZHAI, and Ke Yuan. “City Profile: Datong, China.” Environment and Urbanization ASIA 10, no. 2 (September 2019): 176–92. doi:10.1177/0975425319863928.