Kundu D., Debnath T., Lahiri B. (2020) Overview of Urban Policies in China. In: Kundu D., Sietchiping R., Kinyanjui M. (eds) Developing National Urban Policies. Springer, Singapore.


Over the past few decades, China has experienced unprecedented urbanisation and economic growth, in terms of its both scale and pace. However, this economic boom has not resulted in equitable growth.

Due to the housing registration (hukou) system, rural migrant workers are excluded from social welfare systems in cities. Many migrant workers have to leave their children and elderly behind in the rural areas. The negative consequence of family separation is becoming a pressing social problem. Land ownership is another issue of urban–rural social linkages. According to the law, rural land cannot be used for urban development without state expropriation. However, a substantial share of urban housing is built on rural land informally and without full legality providing affordable urban housing to the low- to middle-income groups.

To address these problems, the government initiated a ‘New Urbanisation Plan’ (2014–20) which aims to achieve a more people-oriented urbanisation process. Also, there has been a recent shift in the focus of the policies from market-oriented approach to people-centric development towards achieving sustainability. Based on a review of urban policies and programmes, this article advocates that the priorities of national urban policy should be improvement of urban–rural socio-economic linkages and integration of the migrants in the mainstream policy framework.