Urbanization in China and North-East Asia Region

According to some estimates, China’s gross domestic product seems likely to increase substantially during the next decade or so, with a concomitant fifty percent rise in urban population. With changes in political climate, similar trends might also be found in other areas of the North-East Asian region like North Korea. In effect, this economic growth means that somewhere on the order of 300 to 400 million people will migrate into existing or newly-formed cities and urbanizing areas. Even in relative terms, this magnitude of growth and redistribution of urban population is unparalleled even among other rapidly growing and developing areas within East Asia, or historically among nations of the so-called ‘new world.’

To investigate these emerging urban phenomena, and to help provide answers to these pressing questions, a two-stage collaborative research project is being conducted among participants from the Hanssem Research Institute and its affiliates in Korea, Tsinghua University in China, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in the United States. This collaboration provides the joint advantages of local familiarity, recent experience with rapid urbanization, as well as methodological and analytical sophistication.

The first phase will be concerned primarily with definition and elaboration of the magnitude and type of urbanization impacts based on existing data and analyses, as well as with identification of needed areas of future research and preliminary recommendations. Specific regions of study within China and the North-East Asian Region will include the Changjiang delta region centering on Shanghai and the Seoul metropolitan region in Korea. The second phase will focus on research and the formulation of specific proposals and recommendations required to extend substantially the initial research. An international symposium will be conducted at the conclusion of phase one in order to help formulate initial findings, recommendations and the specification of future work.

Hanssem Research Institute in Korea, Tsinghua University in China, Graduate School of Design at Harvard University

Seoul, South Korea


Sponsored by the Hanssem Corporation