The rearticulation of urban processes within China’s HSR small cities: empirical observations through data-informed diachronic maps
Francesco Carota, Valeria Federighi, Matteo Migliaccio
Federighi, V., Carota, F., Migliaccio, M., 2020. “The rearticulation of urban processes within China’s HSR small cities: empirical observations through data-informed diachronic maps” in Talia, M. “La città contemporanea: un gigante dai piedi d’argilla. Atti Urbanpromo 2019” Planum Publisher, 2020.
This paper looks to the transformations that are currently underway in those Chinese territories that are identifiable as “small cities” (Gu, Li, Han 2015), and which for a long time were excluded from the dramatic spatial and demographic expansion of China’s major mega-city regions. Particularly, we focus on the small and medium-sized towns that are situated along major transportation corridors, promoted in the frame of a large scale High Speed Railways infrastructural plan, which in only one decade connected densely urbanized areas and interstitial territories. The importance that small cities in China have recently acquired is part of a precise political development plan that aims at reducing internal demographic and social inequalities and redistributing the urban population from first and second level cities to smaller ones. There has been subsequent increase in the academic interest on urban growth in these small Chinese cities, which in many cases still reveal a complex “urban-rural binary” (Kendall, 2015). However, many of these studies have focused on highlighting the tensions and contradictions in terms of social and economic restructuring, while the forms and features of these urbanization processes—particularly in terms of spatial transformations—have certainly received less attention. The analysis of this latter aspect therefore represents the main objective of this contribution.