Over the past decades China has witnessed exploding urbanisation processes that are expected to continue in the future, too. Uniquely in the world, a large number of entire cities and city districts emerge from “nothing”, generating massive population flow processes and influencing economic development to a significant extent, too. Therefore, this urbanisation process and its effects are worth getting acquainted with scientifically.
Urbanisation Processes In China
In China the dynamic economic development of the past decades has brought significant urbanisation. The economic processes of the country are closely connected with urbanisation. An increasing proportion of the GDP is produced in cities and towns, and urban construction itself is considered one of the engines of economy, although today more and more opinions suggest that the process itself implies severe risks in the long run since if all of the planned city construction projects were realised, homes would be built for 3,4 billion people. (On the contrary, the total population of China amounts to “only” 1.4 billion people.) “[i]
Modern urbanisation in today’s sense started with the massive flow from rural to urban areas in the 1980s. At that time the country had 180 million urban citizens but no cities having over 10 million inhabitants. On the contrary, a governmental survey conducted in 2013 found that 200 new city areas and districts were built or planned in 144 cities. Today one-fourth of the 100 largest cities in the world can be found in China, and 29 of the 75 cities that will develop the most dynamically until 2025 are situated here.[ii]
Based on the processes of the near past, several forecasts show that the number of Chinese urban citizens can reach one billion by 2030.[iii] (A part of this will continue to be domestic migration from rural areas towards cities. Between 1990 and 2005 some 103 million people migrated from rural into urban areas, while between 2005 and 2025 another 240 million people are expected to do the same.) Today the urbanisation level of the country is still only slightly above the world average; according to the most recent survey of the UNO, it rated around 54%; however, by 2025 it might approximate two-thirds, i.e. 64%.[iv]
The spreading of urban jobs and the propagation of urban lifestyle has resulted in significant urban development projects in China over the past decades, which often means the rapid construction of entire city areas from nothing. In the following we are going to discuss this specific urban development process with respect to a fresh announcement, the establishment of Xiong’an New Area. In the first half of the article I will present the background and the circumstances of the newly announced Xiong’an Project, then I will outline the eastern-western (primarily) demographic differences of China, and finally I will investigate the issue of Chinese ghost cities, often discussed in the Western media, so that we can gain a more comprehensive insight into the processes of this specific, 21st-century Chinese urbanisation.
Xiong’an New Area
On 1st April 2017 the top leadership of the Communist Party of China passed a decision of historic and strategic importance (as written in the communication) on the establishment of a practically new city, Xiong’an New Area, 100 km southeast of a territory of about 100 km2 (in the first stage of the development).[v] The development zone covers Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin counties and implies an investment of a unique volume, mainly because after the initial phase the designers calculate with some 2000 km2in total in the long term, which equals nearly three times the size of New York.[vi] According to the intentions of the leadership, on the one hand, the new city will bring relief to the overcrowded Beijing and, on the other hand, it will become the new economic pole of China’s economic growth, stop urban sprawl, bridge the growth inequalities and preserve the environment.[vii] According to the official communication on the announcement, this area corresponds to the two most important economic centres in terms of significance: Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, established in the 1980s, and Pudung New Area, set up in the 1990s.[viii]
|Shenzhen is one of the five Special Economic Zones set up in May 1980 in order to establish experimental terrains of market capitalism, which finally led to the “Chinese type of socialism” and “socialist market economy”). At that time the city population amounted to 30 thousand citizens, while today the city is inhabited by nearly 11 million citizens (08 million including the agglomeration). The city was proposed for the title of sub-provincial city (this means that the city is under provincial management but has independent economic and legal public administration) in 1983 and of prefecture-level city (this is a public administrational unit in China below provincial level and over county level, and it includes both the central city and the significantly larger provincial district agglomeration with several cities, towns and villages) in 1988. Shenzhen became one of the largest cities in the Pearl River Delta, China’s economic engine, one of the centres of foreign investments, the busiest harbour of the country and one of the most rapidly developing cities in the world since the 1970s.[ix]
Putung is one of the districts in Shanghai. Putung New Area was established in 1992 here. Today this is the most populated district of Shanghai, basically including ¼ of the city population, i.e. 5 million citizens. Being the primary destination of immigrants, it shows a population growth beyond the average. Today Putung is home to Lujiazui Financial and Trading Zone, the Shanghai Stock Exchange as well as plenty of emblematic buildings in Shanghai such as the Shanghai World Financial Center, the Oriental Pearl Tower or the Shanghai Tower. Besides, the port of Shanghai, one of the busiest marine harbours, the Expo Park of Shanghai, a high-tech industrial park and one of the international airports of the city are also situated in its territory.
The so-called New Districts (or New Areas) are city districts in China to whom the central or regional government devotes a particular economic or developmental role. State- or provincial-level New Areas can appear or be present at several levels. State-level New Areas are special economic developmental zones supported by the central government of the People’s Republic of China, whose privileges are directly granted by the State Council. The newly denominated Xiong’an New Area is also such a state-level development zone.
According to the reports, the establishment of Xiong’an New Area facilitates the transfer of the less central functions of Beijing and will serve as a model for the optimised development of densely populated areas, restructuring the urban space structure of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and establishing new innovation-controlled centres. The governmental communication has attached all the fashionable attributes to the city to be developed. According to this, Xiong’an will be a modern, world-standard, green and smart city; with unique green areas, blue skies, fresh air and clear water; the city will operate as a growth engine, with the settlement of vanguard innovation industrial branches; the system of public services and infrastructure will be of high standard, with the elaboration of a new urban management model; the city will be equipped with a fast, efficient and green transport system; structural and institutional reforms will be introduced in the city to intensify the market; this place will be open to the external world and serve as a new platform of foreign cooperation.[x]
Figure 1: The two most significant economic centres of China and the New Area to be established. Own edition (based upon the map by Liu Luanan[xi])
The foundation of model cities has a great tradition in China: for instance, the raising of Shenzhen from a small fishing village into an economic centre will be attached to the name of Deng Xiao-ping for all time, and the improvement of Putung into China’s leading financial centre to the name of Jiang Zemines. Xi Jin-ping’s endeavour to implement the Xiongan Sustainable and Smart City Development Project also fits into this list. At the same time, the critics of the project suppose that this latter is right the opposite of the Shenzhen and Putung developments: while they have been established as pilot areas of the free market reforms, Xiongan’s planning is realised strictly with top-down control, under state management. Therefore, the modern twin city of the imperial Beijing is becoming the symbol of political power rather than the model for economic development. The critics mention that although anyone could test their luck in Shenzhen in the 1980s, in the case of Xiongan it is the Chinese government who decides which companies and institutions would feature in the city, and what is even more, who can live there. Xi Jin-ping assumes a large risk by announcing such an ambitious vision: the implementation costs will probably be tremendous, and should the project fail, Xiong’an will only illustrate the limits of the present top-down political leadership and economic development. In case of successful implementation, however, the project might become a powerful symbol of the “Chinese dream” specified by Hsi. The blooming Xiong’an would prove that the successes of China do not depend on the application of Wester economic, political or social concepts but the country itself is capable of modernisation, too.[xii]
Some argue that the establishment of the new area is an urban planning model solving the problems of megacities. Settlements with a total population in excess of ten million people (this is the definition of megacity[xiii]) – such as Beijing – are grossly stricken by issues including air pollution, water shortage or traffic jams. As a result of the explosive urbanisation that has been taking place in China recently, big cities with a population of over ten million people are starting up like mushrooms, and the number of megacities with a population exceeding ten million people is also increasing in the country. Therefore, the handling and solving of these problems has been given high priority. According to He Lifang, Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Chinese integration development plan aiming to establish a large metropolitan region may serve as a model for urban agglomerations located in the remaining parts of the country such as the Yangzte Delta, the Chengdu-Chongqing Urban Cluster, the Central Lowland Urban Cluster and the Pearl River Delta (which, according to certain calculations, is already the largest city agglomeration in the world with its population of 42 people, even ahead of the long-standing record-holding Tokyo Agglomeration, too[xiv]). What is even more, according to him the experience obtained here can offer a comprehensive solution for both the country and other megacities around the world.[xv]
The Relationahip Between Urbanisation and Economic Development
The main directions of China’s general economic development are laid down by the Five-Year Plans in the system of planned economy. The 12th Five-Year Plan valid between 2011 and 2015 differed from the previous one because it focused on the demand side of the economy much rather than the supply side, the enhancement of competitiveness and productiveness. The generation, expansion and stimulation of the internal demand became the most important direction, and urbanisation played an essential role in this process. Urban construction, the establishment of the related infrastructure elements and the development of city conglomerations, clusters generates a huge demand, even as investment products.
The main driving force of urbanisation is the flow of the population from rural to urban areas, which might also enhance the internal demand. Since the people who were earlier employed in the agriculture search for new, well-paid jobs in the cities, practically a new middle class emerges. A well-functioning urbanisation process can serve as the basis for the continuous consolidation of the middle class. Starting from the assumption that urban employment will continuously increase and the rural population will settle in cities in the long term, increasing the number of urban population, we might conclude that all this will also enhance the demand and make newer and newer opportunities available for the development of the industrial and servicing sectors. Therefore, the process of urbanisation plays a rather considerable role in the investigation of market demand.[xvi]
Regional Differences and The Catching Up of Western Territories
To interpret the urbanisation processes, we should consider other trends and background factors as well. In this section I am going to present these aspects.
In social and economic terms, China struggles with the difference between the East and the West. Traditionally, the eastern, coastal areas of the country are more densely populated, their economic performance is higher, and the economic development of the past decades (primarily after the policy of reform and opening announced by Teng Hsiao-ping in 1978) and the successful connecting into the global value chain have even strengthened the deepening of the differences. Considerable internal migration began from the internal western part of the country towards the densely populated eastern parts in the hope of rising and better fulfilment of potentials. Becoming aware of this tendency, the government made considerable efforts to improve the internal parts of the country, trying to counter-balance any further increase of the differences. The first institutionalised form of this endeavour was the so-called Western Development initiative in 1999, which is often referred to as the Go West Program. This initiative is based on three main pillars: (1) infrastructure investments, railway development, airports, irrigation systems, gas pipelines, etc.; (2) enhanced environmental measures, including the reforestation or grassing of agricultural areas; and last but not least, (3) the supporting of corporations and industrial sectors in the region.[xvii] This latter implies that better exploitation of foreign and domestic investment opportunities were centrally promoted for the Western region; however, not by imitating the time-honoured, successful models of the eastern part of the country since the Western region is far more vulnerable than the Eastern part of the country. Nearly twenty years have passed already since the beginning of the initiation, and the success of the program has been evaluated by several analyses. In general, it can be stated that although the happenings are positive developments, policies aiming to decrease regional differences are still of relevance.
Insufficient efficiency is due to several factors. Domestic investments could not evolve in the western part of the country owing to the economic competition between the regions. Each region fights for the resources allocated by the central leadership, and the eastern cities with better leverage have got into more favourable positions. For this reason, it did not have the desired effect that the development of the eastern parts of the country “overflows” into the western parts of the country, too, although in some cases we can find an example of this, too.[xviii] Nevertheless, there is still excessive dependency from the central government; therefore, the local governments focus on competition for resources and allowances with all their energy rather than elaborating their own solutions. Several analyses also mention that the western part of the country cannot be handled as a homogenous unit owing to its considerable natural, geographical and economic differences; therefore, a comprehensive strategy is not necessarily able to manage the problems. Another challenge is the income difference between the urban and rural areas, which can be observed in the whole country; however, the gap between the two types of settlements is sharper in the western part of the country than in the east.[xix] Therefore, villages were unable to catch up with the developmental pace of the cities.
Foreign investments comprise another aspect of the development. The country takes considerable steps in order to build closer economic relations with the Central-Asian and Eurasian countries (whose most prominent example is the development of the China-Pakistan relations in recent years), and the building of economic corridors can give a valuable boost to the settlements located in the western, internal territories of the country. This means a new dimension of the Go West Policy in the future.[xx]
Urbanisation Situation in The Inner Territories of China
With respect to our article, it is important that we present all these processes because one of the most important and frequent questions related to the Chinese urbanisation of today is whether the country is able to maintain and plan these new cities according to the actual demands. Is it not possible that there are no “real” inhabitants behind the significant construction projects and in many cases only ghost cities emerge? The great economic boom of recent times has launched considerable internal migration in the country from the rural areas towards the cities, resulting in a considerable urbanisation explosion. Nevertheless, the question is whether the new city parts built in less attractive places also become populated, or we have to face a fatal planning mistake? The process taking place in China is entirely alien to the Western urban planning and urban developmental practice of today; such extent of urbanisation last featured the Western societies during the first industrial revolution. Therefore, it is worth focusing more on the Chinese urbanisation of today.
One of the most often observations of experts and analysts coming from developed countries is that the new city districts have not always “filled up”; their attractiveness has not proven to be as large as it was assumed based upon preliminary calculations; therefore, ghost cities still waiting to be filled with life by the tenants were born. In the following I will study actual examples and outline a more comprehensive approach of this topic, too.
Zhengdong New Area
Zhengdong is a model area of the new city explosion taking place in China; still, it has become even more famous for another thing: as one of the largest ghost cities of China. Numerous Western media has already dealt with this topic. The Daily Mail from the UK called it “China’s largest ghost city” in 2010”, in 2013 the Business Insider said that “The central business district features a ring of significantly vacant skyscrapers”, while another television report made in 2013 (60 Minutes) presents it as a city “of new towers with no residents, desolate condos, and vacant subdivisions uninhabited for miles and miles and miles”.[xxi]
Figure 2: A view of Zhengdong’s central business area (Source: shutterstock)
Zhengdong is a newly built district of Zhengzhou in Honan (Henan) Province that has doubled the size of the original city. Situated east of the city, this district occupies around 150 km2 and includes a central business district, a university campus, a science and technology park, a trading and logistics zone and an economic and technological development area. It used to be only an unutilised construction site 14 years ago. The central district, one of China’s financial centres, consists of 60 prominent skyscrapers housing the provincial centre or branches of 150 financial institutions. The university district comprises 15 universities having more than 240 thousand students and employees. One of the largest firms of its technological park is Foxconn, and the city is the home of nearly 5000 registered business partnerships. As a national transport node, Zhengzhou is located in the node of important north-south and east-west routes. Since September 2012 we have been able to access the city by high-speed rail, and its station has a capacity of 7,400 passengers/hour. According to the data of the Standard Chartered Bank, the city’s “occupancy” rated 20-30% in 2012 and 50-60% in May 2014, which shows that it has become the second most populated district in Zhengzhou.[xxii] Therefore, it can be seen that Zhengdong, contrary to earlier reports, is not a ghost city but requires a certain amount of time to become full of life (however, the development tendency can clearly be seen).
Kangbashi is the newest district of Ordos City in Inner Mongolia and is perhaps one of the most frequently mentioned modern ghost cities; however, the Western media also attached attributes such as the stillborn city or a failed utopia to this city. However, reality is somehow more shaded.
Figure 3: The view of Kangbashi (Source: wikimedia Commons)
The local government decided on the construction of Kangbashi in 2003 and appointed its site 25 kilometres south of Ordos, a city with a population of two million people. Originally, this city would have been populated with one million citizens by 2023; however, the plans were soon reduced to 500 thousand, and then 300 thousand persons. All this was due to the dramatic decrease in the market price of coal, the main article of Ordos that keeps the city alive.
The new administration centre of the province, the governmental buildings, the best hospitals and schools as well as other prestigious public buildings would have been moved to Kangbashi, and, according to the plans, later the middle and upper class would also have followed these functions, populating the city.
In the first five years of the construction the entire city centre (museums, opera house, library, etc.) was built; however, no inhabitants could settle in at that time, the people working here were enforced to commute. This part of the city was given the name “ghost city” by the Western media at that time, although “construction site” would have been more appropriate. Today the daily population of the city already amounts to 100 thousand persons, 80% of which are local citizens. This also means that a third of the city capacity is already filled, so the process of becoming populous is similar to the one taken place in other Chinese new cities. It is also worth noting that 80% of the homes have been sold; however, most owners are from the neighbouring Ordos and have purchased their real properties for investment purposes without intention of moving in. Therefore, complex social, economic and political processes take place in the background; the project is not advancing as it should, but not simply owing to a conceptual fault. If nothing else, we should consider that it takes far less time to build than populate a city.
As for Kangbashi, recently it is not the issue of populating that is mentioned but much rather the mistakes made during the urban architectural planning. The scale of the city was simply taken too large: the streets are 40 metres wide, the blocks of buildings stretch 500 metres, and the city is famous for one of the largest squares that is nearly as Tienanmen Square in Beijing. These solutions separate the people from the workplaces, shops, entertainment facilities and even each other physically, too. Therefore, the feeling of emptiness is deceptive and mainly supported by the urban planning endowments. Kangbashi is not a walkable city; most people drive a car to overcome long distances so we can see hardly any people in the streets.
Therefore, the primary problem with Kangbashi is not that it fails to fulfil its designated role and remains empty (the preliminary overplanning was later remedied), it is that the layout and the structure of the city do not adjust to the needs of the inhabitants. [xxiii] It is wrong to call it a ghost city; however, there is no denying that the internal structure leaves much to be desired.
Lanzhou New Area
The establishment of Lanzhou New Area can clearly be attached to the Go West Policy. Lanzhou City has 3.6 million inhabitants, and the region has become notorious for its air, water and soil pollution. The site of Lanzhou New Area was marked 60 kilometres north of this city centre. In this part of the city, 5 hospitals, 75 schools and crèches are planned to be built until 2020, and the planners expect one million inhabitants by 2030.
Figure 4: Lanzhou New Area (Source: shutterstock)
In 2013 no one lived in the city yet and reports often referred to this place as a ghost city. However, the number of inhabitants began to increase slowly, and according to estimations, today 40-80 thousand people live in the city. Given that the city is still under construction, this population is not small at all. In all likelihood, the city will join the Silk Road Economic Zone, which is one of the key channels of Chinese economic development, and the settlement of workplaces will probably increase the population’s inclination to settle in. Therefore, it would be wrong to call Lanzhou New Area a ghost city since this city district (similarly to the above) has not reached the entire “completion level” so it is still not in the state that it has been planned to.[xxiv]
So, Do Ghost Cities Exist in China?
Wade Shepard urbanist and East Asia scholar wandered around the country for a long time and did extensive research on Chinese “ghost cities”, which inspired his book entitled Ghost Cities in China. He has found that the ghost city concept is a wrong conclusion arising from our western mentality and experience. China really has vacant city districts; however, this is not the consequence of an urban planning mistake. Shepard summarises the background of this phenomenon in nine points[xxv]:
- The city has not been built yet: the international media has declared numerous such areas ghost cities that were simply not built at that very moment. Being entire city districts, they will necessarily have areas that look finished but are vacant yet since there are still construction works in progress in their immediate proximity. People may not start moving in as long as all this process (or at least a larger block) is completed; however, it would be wrong to speak about a ghost city in this state. The modern urban construction process is still so fresh that actually no new Chinese city district can be considered entirely complete today. The time span of developments is 17-23 years in China, so the “ghost city” stigma is a rash statement in technical respect, too[xxvi].
- They have been built too early: populating a city is a long process that will not take place overnight. In China it can happen that even the appropriate infrastructure connections of a given city district are established only after several years. The instalment of the different functions that attract the inhabitants also takes a long time. The new Chinese city districts are not built by the demands of today or tomorrow because they have an entirely different approach, thinking even in twenty-year periods from the beginning of the construction until the entire populating (as already mentioned in the previous point).
- They are building for sale: Plenty of Chinese cities raise money (beyond the tax revenues) by purchasing landed properties in the outskirts at a low price, declare them urban areas and then resell them with a considerable price difference to the building companies. Therefore, more than necessary expansion is essential in many cases in order to maintain the budgetary equilibrium.
- Builders have to start the works at once: owing to the strong competition construction companies immediately buy up all the construction sites becoming available from the local governments. However, these sites are very often located far from the existing city districts, in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, the construction works have to be started as soon as possible so that the building company can generate income and the law also obligates them to perform the construction after buying the plot, there is no time “to brood on it”. One can often see city areas in an initial stage, built as rapidly as possible for a minimum profit; however, this is not the final state yet.
- The chicken and egg dilemma[xxvii]: no one moves into a place without the system of basic public services such as healthcare, schools, shopping malls, workplaces or public transport. At the same time, the local governments and the corporations are uncertain whether to settle these into places without inhabitants. Although the Chinese purchase a part of the homes in advance, they do not move is until the economic and social circulation starts and these problems are solved.
- Many people purchase homes without intending to live there actually: Chinese inclination to purchase homes has been rather high over the past years; it has seemed to be a good investment to buy a home, which increased prices so much that most people have not been able to afford. The housing market is still full of speculators who only put their savings into the homes and do not intend to live there. However, the prices are driven up by them have become unaffordable for the people who really wished to live there. Therefore, hardly any people are present physically in the city, even if all of the homes have been sold – evoking a ghost city in this way. The Chinese government has also realised this issue and started to introduce actions against the speculators; for instance, they suspended that one person can own several real properties. The government also offers alternative investment opportunities (for the time being, with little success, which was also due to the stock-market uncertainty in 2015) so that the population does not necessarily wish to invest their savings into real properties.
- Purchasing for the future: similarly to the investments, many Chinese purchase real properties only for future use, for instance, for their children to found a family, for themselves or for their parents to have a home for their years in retirement. In China 13 million marriages are concluded annually, newlyweds account for one-third of home buyers; however, plenty of them bought their homes earlier than they needed them. In the new city districts people often purchase homes in the knowledge that they will be able to move in only in several years’ time when the construction finishes. Therefore, they take their time and even if someone moved in urgently they would calculate with several years.
- There is lack of affordable homes: state-supported home types are called “affordable homes” in China, with most stringent restrictions applicable to their price and resale. These homes are maintained for the housing of citizens having an expressly low or medium income. However, since these homes can be sold only at a price of maximum 3-5% over the construction costs, the local governments or the developers are not happy about building too many of these less profitable homes. Therefore, only 3% of the total homes are of such type, which is a rather low value. (The potential demands are clearly reflected by the fact that China’s new urbanisation plan intends to raise the proportion of such homes to 23%.) Another problem is that during the construction works these homes are the last to be built so this factor also hinders the soon population of the city districts.
- Local governments are not prepared for the supply of the increased population: the construction of new city parts comprises a huge income for the local governments; however, as soon as people move there, they start to increase the expenditures. Public transport, hospitals, schools and so on will be needed; therefore, there is a typical conversion period: first the development “seems to be” a city and then it already has the infrastructure required for the supply of the population.
To sum up, Shepard states that although obviously not all of the “city construction” projects will be equal to their expectations, and in all likelihood there will be city parts whose capacity will never be exploited entirely, the Chinese urbanisation process takes place at an unprecedented pace and is more complex than we could expect from the sight of some deserted skyscrapers.
The contemporary modern Chinese urbanisation process launched in the late 20th century takes place at an unprecedented pace and volume. The pace of urban construction is extremely rapid and it would be proper to ask whether this urbanisation explosion satisfies actually existing demands or the processes only get organised along governmental and economic interests. If this latter is the case, then severe social and economic risks arise, and a gross capacity surplus can emerge, which at the level of cities means that city districts are built for large amounts of inhabitants who will finally not live in that settlement. Several experts highlight this, and the media also likes presenting pictures of enormous deserted avenues and squares, the Chinese ghost cities. However, no such problem has ever occurred up to present (which at the same time does not mean that no such problem may actually occur in the future) – things are running again with time after the construction works. It is also important to highlight that the entire new city construction explosion is so young that we still cannot find any city that can entirely be considered ready. Nevertheless, while we study only semi-finished “construction sites”, it would be a mistake to manage and evaluate them as other cities. The traditional attitude should be transformed since it should be understood how these cities and urbanisation are observed in China and things should be studied in their process so that we can discover the real dynamics.
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[i] CAI, Jane (2017): How China’s rush to urbanise has created a slew of ghost towns. In: South China Morning Post, 07 March 2017. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2076346/why-chinas-rush-urbanise-created-slew-ghost-towns
[ii] SHEPARD, Wade (2015): The future of China’s ’ghost cities’. China Daily Europe, 03 07 2015. http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2015-07/03/content_21169332.htm
[iii] WOETZEL, Jonathan, MENDONCA, Lenny, DEVAN, Janamitra, NEGRi, Stefano, HU, Yangmel, JORDAN, Luke, LI, Xiujun, MAASRY, Alexander, TSEN, Geoff, YU, Flora, et al.: Preparing for China’s Urban Billion. McKinsey Global Institute Report, 2009.
[iv] ENSZ World Urbanisation Prospects, 2014 Revision. https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2014-Report.pdf
[v] PHILLIPS, Tom (2017): China plans to build new city nearly three times the size of New York. In: The Guardian, 4 April 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/04/china-plans-build-new-city-nearly-three-times-the-size-of-new-york
[vi] All you need to know about China’s Xiongan New Area. In: The Telegraph. 19 April 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world/china-watch/society/xiongan-new-area/
[vii] New area to be ’historic’ development. In: China Daily USA, April 3 2017. http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2017-04/03/content_28783856.htm
[viii] Shouquan fabu: Zhonggong zhongyang, Guowuyuan jueding sheli Hebei Xiong’an xinqu 受权发布：中共中央、国务院决定设立河北雄安新区 [Hivatalos közlemény: A KKP Központi Bizottsága és az Államtanács döntött a Hebei-beli Xiongan Új Körzet kialakításáról] In: Xinhuanet.com, 2017.04.01. http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2017-04/01/c_1120741571.htm
[ix] UN (2016): World Cities Report 2016. Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), 2016, Main Report. http://wcr.unhabitat.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/WCR-2016-Full-Report.pdf
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[xi] Things you should know about Xiongan New Area. In: China Daily. 06. April 2017. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017top10/2017-04/06/content_28809937_3.htm
[xii] CHEN, Gerge G. (2017): Xiongan: A New City for the Xi Jinping Era – Why Xiongan is the antithesis of Shenzhen. In: The Diplomat, May 30 2017. http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/xiongan-a-new-city-for-the-xi-jinping-era/
[xiii] UN (2014): World Urbanization Prospects. The 2014 Revision – Final Report: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2014-Report.pdf
[xiv] World Bank (2015): East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape: Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth. Urban Development Series. Washington, DC: World Bank. DOI: 10.1596/978-1-4648-0363-5. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO.
[xv] CHONG, Koh Ping (2017): Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster a model for other megacities. In: The Strait Times, Mar 7 2017. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/beijing-tianjin-hebei-cluster-a-model-for-other-megacities
[xvi] FAN, Gang (2012): The Twelfth Five-Year Plan and the Megatrends of Urbanization. In: Wang, Jisi et. al. (2012): China at the Crossroads: Sustainability, Economy, Security and Critical Issues for the 21th Century. Long River Press, San Fransisco USA., pp. 17-30.
[xvii] WU, Yuqing (2009): Ten Years After „Go West”. In: Journal of the Washington Institute of China Studies, Summer 2009, Vol. 4, No. 2, 74–84.
[xviii] KE, Shanzi, FESER, Edward (2010): Count on the Growth Pole Strategy for Regional Economic Growth? Spread–Backwash Effects in Greater Central China. In: Regional Studies, Vol. 44, No. 9, 1131–1147. DOI: 10.1080/00343400903373601
[xix] LU, Zheng, DENG, Xiang (2011): China’s Western Development Strategy: Policies, Effects and Prospects. In: Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA), Paper No. 35201, p1–26. 1. December 2011. Online at: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/35201/
[xx] SUMMERS. Tim (2013): Still ’going west’? In: East Asia Forum Quarterly (EAFQ) Vol. 5 No. 3: July-September, 2013. 25–26.
[xxi] SHEPARD, Wade (2015): Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities without People in the World’s Most Populated Country (Asian Arguments). 2015. Zed Books, London. 52.
[xxii] SHEPARD, Wade (2015): Banishing the ghost. In: South China Morning Post, 26 May 2015. http://www.scmp.com/presented/topics/go-china-zhengzhou/article/1802853/banishing-ghost
[xxiii] SHEPARD, Wade (2016): An Update On China’s Largest Ghost City – What Ordos Kangbashi Is Like Today. In: Forbes, Apr. 19, 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/04/19/an-update-on-chinas-largest-ghost-city-what-ordos-kangbashi-is-like-today/#1823bffa2327
[xxiv] PHILLIPS, Tom (2017): China goes west: a ghost city in the sand comes to life. In: The Guardian, 21 March, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/21/china-west-ghost-city-comes-to-life-lanzhou-new-area
[xxv] SHEPARD, Wade (2015): “Enough empty floor space to cover Madrid”: so why are China’s ghost cities still unoccupied? In: Citymetric, June 29, 2015. http://www.citymetric.com/skylines/enough-empty-floor-space-cover-madrid-so-why-are-chinas-ghost-cities-still-unoccupied-1180
[xxvi] erről bővebben lásd: SHEPARD, Wade (2015): The myth of China’s ghost cities. In: Reuters, April 22, 2015. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/04/21/the-myth-of-chinas-ghost-cities/
[xxvii] erről bővebben, példákkal illusztrálva lásd: SHEPARD, Wade (2016): One Way That China Populates Its Ghost Cities. In: Forbes, Jan 19, 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/01/19/one-way-that-china-populates-its-ghost-cities/#701212fa6e53
László Gere graduated in 2009 at Eötvös Loránd University as a geographer, with specialization in regional and settlement development, in 2016, qualified as a specialized and literary translator from English and from Hungarian at Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, began his PhD studies in autumn 2015 at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences of the University of Pécs. He works as senior researcher at PAIGEO Research Institute from 2015. He is specialized in urbanism, the global role and social economic processes of the cities.