China's Urban Billion: The Story Behind the Biggest Migration in Human History

China's Urban Billion: The Story Behind the Biggest Migration in Human History

Paperback Asian Arguments

By (author) Tom Miller


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Hardback $129.25
  • Publisher: ZED BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 212mm x 14mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 24 December 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1780321414
  • ISBN 13: 9781780321417
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 196,690

Product description

By 2030, China's cities will be home to 1 billion people - one in every eight people on earth. What kind of lives will China's urban billion lead? And what will China's cities be like? Over the past thirty years, China's urban population expanded by 500 million people, and is on track to swell by a further 300 million by 2030. Hundreds of millions of these new urban residents are rural migrants, who lead second-class lives without access to urban benefits. Even those lucky citizens who live in modern tower blocks must put up with clogged roads, polluted skies and cityscapes of unremitting ugliness. The rapid expansion of urban China is astonishing, but new policies are urgently needed to create healthier cities. Combining on-the-ground reportage and up-to-date research, this pivotal book explains why China has failed to reap many of the economic and social benefits of urbanization, and suggests how these problems can be resolved. If its leaders get urbanization right, China will surpass the United States and cement its position as the world's largest economy. But if they get it wrong, China could spend the next twenty years languishing in middle-income torpor, its cities pockmarked by giant slums.

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Author information

Tom Miller is managing editor of the China Economic Quarterly, published by research company GKDragonomics, and a former Beijing correspondent of the South China Morning Post. Tom has a First Class degree in English from Oxford and an MA in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. After teaching for a year at Shanghai University, he studied Chinese at Beijing Language and Culture University and at China's Central Academy of Drama. Resident in China for more than a decade, Tom lives in Beijing with his wife and two children. This is his first book.

Review quote

'This well argued and engaging account could not be better timed. China's recently appointed leaders have tough decisions to make. If they have the guts to listen to their own experts, Tom Miller says, the country could find itself on the cusp of a new land revolution. As this book powerfully illustrates, China needs its mesmerizing urban expansion to stay on course.' - James Miles, Beijing bureau chief, The Economist 'China's recent prodigious urbanization is complex and often misunderstood. Miller tells an engaging China story that is quite different from what has been narrated by other journalists. Broadly researched, insightful and up-to-date, the book easily stands out. It is a title those who want to understand the country cannot afford to ignore.' - Kam Wing Chan, Professor of Geography, University of Washington 'Urbanisation will be the great theme of China's trajectory over the next decade and beyond, and Tom Miller is its superb, street-wise guide. He expertly explains the economic, social and environmental consequences of China's expanding cities and shrinking villages, and above all never loses sight of the people at the heart of this transformation. In China's Urban Billion, Miller takes what could have been a dry, abstract topic and delivers a vivid and highly readable account of momentous change.' - Chris Buckley, Beijing correspondent, The New York Times

Table of contents

Introduction: The Biggest Migration in Human History 1. By the Sweat of Their Brows: The People Who Built Urban China 2. Passport to Purgatory: Fixing the Hukou System 3. Farm versus Factory: The Battle over Land 4. The Construction Orgy: Paving the Fields 5. Ghost Towns in the Desert: How China Builds Its Cities 6. A Billion Wallets: What China's New Urbanites Will and Won't Buy Conclusion: Civilizing the Cities