At the turn of the first quarter of the 21 century, powerful political and economic forces have reshaped China through a process of urban restructuring and expansion, which have few equals in human history. This process of transformation has progressed in the last three decades and has run in parallel with an impressive effort to modernize and expand infrastructures, technology, urban services, and industrial outputs. Unprecedented immigration and urbanization to major cities at the expense of rural areas have followed national and local ambitious agendas, with the goal to fill the gap with the West while promoting the economic transformation of the nation.
The result has been the creation of larger megacities, new urban settlements (new towns) programs, the radical alteration of the urban landscape of historical sites, the sprawl of endless suburban areas built as enclaves of gated high-rise high-density apartment blocks served prevalently by car-oriented mobility circulation and road systems. In parallel with this urban and economic growth, China has harbored an increasing environmental crisis caused by unsustainable levels of pollution and contamination, a growing divide between urban and rural regions, the misuse of largely imported and unfit models of urban expansion, which will only be exacerbated in the years to come by the looming threats of climate change, geo-political instability, demographic decline, and economic and technological shifts.
Looking at and reflecting on the various trajectories that urban and rural China have embraced from the recent past to present, this special issue welcomes papers whose contribution help clarify different aspects of the transformation of Chinese cities and rural settlements, and their potential developments in the next decade, from (but not limited to) the following fields:
- Green architecture and eco-cities
- City and the technological and economic shift
- Sustainability and Zero-net Carbon City
- The city of the future: its forms, infrastructures, and functioning
- Urban regeneration and rural revitalization
- Architectural and urban design for Climate Change
- Resilient cities and rural villages
- Heritage protection and the contemporary city
- New urban and rural living