Case Study: Shanghai Changes in Shanghai’s urban landscape
Shanghai is a coastal modern megacity in East China, with an area of 6340.5 square kilometers and a population of about 24 million. Since China’s reform in the late 1970s, Shanghai, the country’s largest and most modern city, has experienced rapid urbanisation and expansion.
Following liberation from Japanese occupation, there was mass in-migration as those previously displaced by civil wars and the Japanese returned.
Those living in urban areas were entitled to welfare and subsidies. This made urban areas very attractive and in-migration accelerated (this then became unmanageable so stricter controls were introduced and people were sent away).
During Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1960s) the emphasis was on increased industrial activity and population control measures. At the same time many of the city’s youth and skilled workers were forced to move out to rural outposts in an attempt to increase the output of the periphery, resulting in under-urbanisation. After Chairman Mao’s rule ended, Shanghai was free to grow again as policies favoured foreign investment. The educated youth and their families were free to return. The population growth rate increased to 3.8% between 1985 and 1993.
Shanghai has also become a magnet for illegal immigrants. The influx of ‘floating population’ (as they live there temporarily) caused hyper-urbanisation in the area, now making up a fifth of Shanghai’s population and posing one of the biggest threats to the city in terms of planning for housing and other services.
Rural-urban migration has made dominant contributions to urban population growth as many of these temporary migrant workers are farm work...