The “Third Spring” of Urban Planning in China The Resurrection of Professional Planning in the Post-Mao Era

TitleThe “Third Spring” of Urban Planning in China The Resurrection of Professional Planning in the Post-Mao Era
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLeaf, M, Hou, L
JournalChina Information
Volume20
Pagination553–585
Abstract

Social and economic changes resulting from the introduction of market allocation processes in the post-Mao era have been enormously consequential in accelerating China’s urbanization. Central to such changes have been the fundamental reconceptualization of the role of the city vis-a-vis national development strategies and the consequent revitalization of the practice of urban spatial planning after years of disrepute and dissolution. This article examines the current state—the “third spring”—of urban planning practice relative to ongoing changes in urban China, particularly the rapid expansion of urban spatial economies and the local impacts of administrative and fiscal decentralization. Instead of seeing the new position of urban planning as indicative of a sharp discontinuity with past practices, we argue that the rise of professional planning should instead be understood in terms of its conceptual continuity with the past. Analysis of current developments in planning practice indicates growing tensions over questions of control, both between central and local states and with regard to the diversification of actors shaping the political economy of urbanization at local levels.

DOI10.1177/0920203X06070043