Urban Construction

In the early days of New China, the country had only 58 cities, and in 1952 there were only nine cities with populations over one million each. Since 1978, China’s urbanization has been speeded up. The number of cities increased from 193 in 1979 to 668 in 1999. Among these cities there are 37 extra-large ones with populations above one million; 48 large cities with populations between 500,000 and one million; 205 medium-sized cities with populations between 200,000 and 500,000; and 378 small cities with populations less than 200,000. The number of medium-sized cities has increased fairly rapidly, and that of small cities has grown the most rapidly. In the eastern coastal areas, city groups (belts) with extra-large cities as the centers have been formed, such as the Bohai Bay, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta urbanized areas. The policies of reform and opening to the outside world have greatly strengthened the cities’ comprehensive strength. Between 1988 and 1996, the urban GDP grew by 18 percent on average annually, with the cities’ centering status and role becoming more and more prominent.

Since 1979, the Chinese government has invested heavily in the construction of urban infrastructure facilities, including public utilities, parks and other green areas, urban roads, public communications, water- and gas-supply facilities, and treatment of urban garbage. In 1999, the water supplied totaled 46.75 billion cubic meters in the Chinese cities; the length of the urban roads, 151.000 km; and the total amount of gas and natural gas supplied came to 2.121 million cubic meters.

The newly-built Shanghai Nanpu Bridge.


Since economic reform and opening up, large areas of resident houses have been built throughout the country to meet the needs of the people.


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Last updated: 2000-07-13.