Symbolic Cities and the 'Cake Debate'

The Australian National University
Publication Type:
Red Rising Red Eclipse: China Story Yearbook 2012, 2012, 1, pp. 25 - 52
Issue Date:
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Cities provide the most spectacular evidence of China's transformation. New urban landscapes punctuated by landmark skyscrapers proclaim the country's rapid development and modernisation. Since 1978, over 500 new cities have been built and constructing them has been a major social and political achievement as well as a major driver of economic growth. The process has also dispossessed millions of rural landholders without due or sufficient compensation, resulting in tens of thousands of protests in recent years. In historic cities, displacement of long-established residents and the replacement of socialist-era housing and factories by sleek office buildings and shopping malls also demonstrate the changing economic functions of the city and throw up new social and economic issues.
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