Chinese Neighborhoods and Health
Chinese urbanization is one of the important phenomena of the last decades of the twentieth century and early decades of the current one. It has enormous implications for the economy, environment, and culture. What are these urban communities in China like particularly in the large cities where high urban densities have become the norm? Drawing on work in 25 fairly ordinary neighborhoods, developed and redeveloped over the past three decades, China's Urban Communities, by Peter Rowe, Ann Forsyth, and Har Ye Kan looks at the physical character of these areas through the lens of the well-being of their inhabitants. The four metropolitan areas these neighborhoods are located in—Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Souzhou—have a track record of both expansion and densification and provide an important lens for examining the wider array of urban situations in China where smaller cities are now the leading edge of growth.
Built by ordinary real estate developers for the emerging middle class, the projects on the whole do fairly well as places to live. People live in compact dwellings but these are far larger in previous decades. Neighborhoods generally provide a range of the services and opportunities needed to live a healthy life. However, some typical Chinese patterns of development—including the walled superblock enclave—make it difficult to have a fully integrated city. The coming wave of aging also poses new challenges explored in this publication.