Trends in Urbanisation and Urban Policies in OECD Countries

What Lessons for China?

China has became the world’s largest urban nation with today over 600 million urban citizens, a figure that is projected to reach 900 million by 2050. Its national economy is already concentrated in cities: almost 65% of China’s GDP was produced in its 53 metropolitan regions in 2004. Although the scale of China’s urbanisation – and the growing number of metropolitan regions within which this urbanisation is concentrating – is unprecedented globally, issues confronting all levels of government in managing this growth are not unique. Most OECD countries have needed to address a wide range of urban management challenges, and are continuing to acquire valuable experience in doing so. Among the key challenges that many countries have been confronted with include: How to maximise national benefits of urbanisation and mitigating its negative impacts? What are the economic, social, and environmental costs of meeting these challenges? How to define the most effective and efficient allocation of functional responsibilities among various levels of government in the urban context? How to effectively plan urban development in a market context?

This report presents an overview of trends in urban policies in OECD countries with the objective to identify successes and failure that could inform national Chinese policy-makers in their preparation of an Urbanisation Strategy.