Mega-Urbanization in China

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  • Title: Mega-Urbanization in China: Rural-Urban Synthesis as a Foundation for Sustainability
  • Author(s): Andrew Marton, Terry McGee
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Global Studies
  • Journal Title: The Global Studies Journal
  • Keywords: Urbanization, Sustainability, China, Food Supply for Urban Areas
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1835-4432 (Print)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Marton, Andrew, and Terry McGee. 2017. "Mega-Urbanization in China: Rural-Urban Synthesis as a Foundation for Sustainability." The Global Studies Journal 10 (2): 1-19. doi:10.18848/1835-4432/CGP/v10i02/1-19.
  • Extent: 19 pages


In the first part of the twenty-first. century China still faces ongoing challenges of maintaining economic growth while simultaneously creating a more equitable, just, and sustainable society. This issue is set within the context of the rapid growth of mega-urban regions in the East Asian region. Central to this challenge is addressing the deep and growing economic disparities between rural and urban areas and creating a more balanced relationship, particularly in agriculture and food supply which are effected by the spatial spread of urbanization. The key challenges of increasing productivity of food production and the effectiveness of the food supply system pivot on the rapidly urbanizing mega-urban regions of China illustrated by the case study of the lower Yangzi delta mega-urban region. These changes are occurring because of increased urban and international demand for diversified food and industrial crops, loss of good agricultural land, changes in food distribution in response to increased urban and export demand, increased competition for resources such as land and labor, and environmental problems caused by global climate change and pollution. While these outcomes are viewed by some as the inevitable consequences of the twin forces of China’s national economic growth and globalization, we invoke the concepts of synergetic and eco-capital to argue for the development of policies promoting rural-urban synthesis that present a more comprehensive response to the simultaneous challenges of economic growth and environmental and social sustainability.