Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

China’s future may hinge on hundreds of smaller cities

Fengdu, a small city by China standards with 850,000 people, is more livable than China's mega-cities but still prospering from urbanization. (Harvey Barrison/flickr/cc)

As China’s megacities struggle to cope with pollution, congestion and sprawl, the nation’s small- and mid-sized cities are flourishing. Andrew Browne reports for the Wall Street Journal that medium-sized cities such as Fengdu are economic engines for a burgeoning middle class.

With a population of 850,000, Fengdu would be considered large in many countries. In China, its relatively modest size makes it easier to manage, and far more livable than mega-cities like Beijing and Guangzhou. “That economic transformation is on display in Fengdu,” Browne writes. Jobs are plentiful, wages are rising, sales of consumer goods are up and there’s a brisk tourist trade.

China’s roughly 1,600 smaller cities are an integral part its urban landscape. About 40 percent of the nation’s population of 1.3 billion resides in them, the article says. It’s a segment that accounts for 42 percent of China’s gross domestic product. “Small cities are China’s future,” Browne writes. “If these striving cities lose momentum, China fails.” 

Wall Street Journal

More from Citiscope

Latest Commentary