Interconnectivity critical to urbanization of China’s towns and cities
Yang Dangliang, a Chinese student in urbanism at Harvard University, has chosen for his thesis to delve into the topic of a new official Chinese urbanization strategy: “townization” or 城镇化 (chengzhenhua), aimed at promoting the urbanization of small cities and towns. Indeed, in order to better control large cities’ expansion, the Chinese government has turned its focus on small-scale urban areas which absorb the steady flows of migrants from the countryside.
Yang suggests improving existing structures and urban areas by investing in connectivity between towns. According to him, “townization” can only work as long as these towns are attractive in terms of work opportunities, and he therefore calls for the creation of an inter-town network of services and industries, enhanced by a communication infrastructure, instead of centralizing all activities in large urban centers.