City and Regional Planning

Yue Zhang: Villages in the City: China's Dual-track Urbanization and Implications for Urban Planning

Monday, January 28, 2019 6:00pm
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Meyerson Hall, B3

Yue Zhang, associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois, Chicago, will give a talk entitled Villages in the City: China's Dual-track Urbanization and Implications for Urban Planning.

China has experienced rapid urbanization along with extraordinary economic growth in the last four decades. The urban share of the population has grown from 18% in 1978 to 59% in 2018. Twenty of the world’s 100 largest cities are in China. How has China achieved an urbanization of such unprecedented pace and scale? In this talk, Professor Yue Zhang argues that China’s urbanization is driven by two tracks that are rooted in the country’s unique land regime. On the one hand, a state-led track relying on land financing has led to the massive expropriation of rural land and an infrastructure boom. One the other hand, an informal track has resulted in the proliferation of urban villages that provide affordable housing and services to migrant workers. While China’s dual-track urbanization has generated visible economic and political benefits, it remains challenged by issues of sustainability and inclusiveness. As an effort to integrate the two tracks, the recent projects of urban redevelopment have increased spatial and social inequalities in China. The talk explains the mechanisms and impacts of China’s dual-track urbanization and its implications for urban planning in China and beyond.


Yue Zhang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her MA and Ph.D. degrees in Politics from Princeton University and her A.B. degree in International Relations from Peking University. Her principal research interest is comparative urban politics and policy with a focus on metropolitan and urban governance, urban informality, land development, urban social movements, and globalization. Professor Zhang received the Norton Long Young Scholar Award in 2009 and the Stone Scholar Award in 2010, both from the American Political Science Association’s Urban Politics Section. She has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants, with the most recent ones including a residential fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. in 2015-2016. She is the author of The Fragmented Politics of Urban Preservation: Beijing, Chicago, and Paris (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). Her other published work has appeared in Urban Affairs Review, Town Planning Review, Land Use Policy, The China Quarterly, among others. She is currently working on a book project about informal housing and urban governance in China, India, and Brazil.