Just over 680 million of China’s population now lives within an urban area and the fast pace of urbanisation continues unabated. Achieving a win-win solution of sustainable development through managing the challenges of rapid urbanisation has become an issue of international attention. This is not only because China’s urbanisation fuels a dynamic economy that contributes to the prosperity and stability of the global economy, but also because it consumes resources and emits waste on such a gigantic scale that it can pose a threat to the earth’s sustainable future. In academia and the policy realm, keen observers from different countries and disciplines have put China’s urbanisation under their analytical lens, highlighting a multitude of challenges for sustainable development, such as urban-rural disparity, social inequality, high car-dependency, environmental pollution and degradation. Consequently, China’s moves to tackle these challenges are of great interest to an international audience.
In recent years, the Chinese government has spearheaded its New Urban Agenda with the introduction of policy ideas such as a ‘new normal’ state, the New-type of Urbanisation Plan and ecological civilisation. The aim is to steer China’s urban development towards a more sustainable pathway, embracing an innovation-driven economy, people-centred urbanisation, and environmentally-conscious decision-making. At the same time, with the rise of online shopping, sharing economies, and green lifestyles, bottom-up dynamics are continuously creating new urban possibilities. These urban transitions are hatching great opportunities for a sustainable urban future; however, uncertainties and negative side-effects are also looming if good intentions are not matched with appropriate actions from different sections of society.
This conference aims to provide a forum to facilitate an international dialogue on China’s New Urban Agenda by bridging ideas, discussions, and perspectives between scholars from inside and outside China, between academics and practitioners, between early career researchers and established experts, as well as across different academic disciplines that share a common interest in striving for a more sustainable urban future.