Dialectical Understanding on Urban Shrinkage and Growth in China: Taking the Old Industrial Base Cities in Northeastern China as an Example

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According to statistical data, nearly 60 percent of China’s population had lived in cities, by 2018. Recently, research reports show that China's population growth will enter a period of stagnation, followed by a likely rapid decline. This paper selects the old industrial base cities, in Northeastern China, as the research object. Based on the data of population, urban construction, fiscal revenue and LGDP, etc., utilizing data spatial visualization analysis software such as ArcGIS, this research reveals the space-time dynamic association between urban growth and shrink, happening in cities and in regions. Furthermore, the research analyzes the dynamic process of growth and reduction of population and land-use scale in individual city case, focusing on industrial landuse and the situation of related employment. At the same time, it reflects the socio-economic characteristics of urban outflow population, such as age, occupation, income, and the structural characteristics of the urban secondary industry as well as the transition trends. That means, the areas and cities to which the population flows, and the jobs performed, also have important explanatory implications on the things happening in case cities. Based on the analysis above, the paper proposes an understanding and definition of the shrinking cities in the context of contemporary China. And then it argues that, comparing with the economic growth and population accumulation previously, the status of population outflow, industrial decline and spatial shrink happening currently, still can be regarded as an urban development mode which isn’t represented by the growth of space and economic, but by the reconstruction of space, population and industry. Furthermore, the reconstruction of space has the rich connotation of smart growth. It is the right way for cities to seek new development engine and the mechanisms by which the engine works.
Planning for Transition – book of proceedings 31; 2
population growth, north China, cities
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