The proposal “Sustainable Urbanisation in China: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, Mega-trends towards 2050 (URBACHINA)” will address the four topics identified in the Call: institutional foundations and policies, land property and the urban rural divide, environmental and health infrastructures and services, and traditions and modern lifestyles in cities. These topics are treated as the strands comprising a comprehensive analysis of a single process – urbanisation in China – that link historical experiences, comparative dimensions and the exploration of possible future scenarii with reference to conceptions of sustainability.
This proposal builds on the idea that to assess the trends and sustainability of urbanisation in China it is necessary to evaluate the process using a multi-faceted approach, utilising concepts and best practice methods from a range of disciplines, including economic geography, urban economics, environmental studies, sociology, anthropology and history. In addition, the approach incorporates historical and comparative perspectives: the first in order to separate out historical continuities and discontuinities in the Chinese urbanisation process, and the second to identify similarities and differences between the urbanisation processes inside and outside China, in particular the EU. Apart from its analytical value, a comparative perspective provides a firm foundation for many-sided interactions between Europe and China, including workshops, conferences and meetings between scholars, policy-makers and ordinary citizens.