Redefining "Urban"

A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas

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This report compares urbanisation trends in OECD countries on the basis of a newly defined OECD methodology which enables cross-country comparison of the socio-econimic and environmental performance of metropolitan areas in OECD countries. The methodology is presented and results from its application to 27 OECD countries are discussed together with policy implication both on national growth and governance of cities. The report also includes three original papers that present the urbanisation dynamics and prospects in China and South Africa and the governance challenges resulting from the new policy agenda on cities in the United Kingdom.



Urbanisation in China today

China’s rapid demographic transition is expected to lead to a contraction in the working-age population. Securing labour supply will depend on whether urbanisation can bring sufficient workers into urban areas. This chapter describes the urban system in China and examines how the urban population is defined. It then discusses the current level of urbanisation, analyses the regional spatial distribution of the urban population, and summarises general trends of urban population distribution. It uses this understanding to reflect on the potential for application of the OECD methodology of urban areas to China. Finally, the longer term urbanisation patterns in China are briefly discussed.


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