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Showing 1-10 of 10 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 18 reviews
on February 18, 2013
Urbanization is a huge trend that's transforming China. The unique Chinese cityscape is the result of many factors - economic, social, and (especially) political. This book demystifies what's going on.

The contents are well balanced between an introduction of general trends and case studies of particular cities or urban dwellers - these case studies make the general observations seem much more concrete and immediate.

The discussion on why Chinese cities are so ugly and unpleasant is especially good. Instead of just rolling out the usual expat complaints, the author explains the larger forces which have created such terrible urban models. That part alone is worth the price of the book.

My only major criticism would be that the book seems repetitive in places. The author goes on and on about hukou and the problems of migrants in several chapters - I felt that some sections seemed like a rehash of what he had written in earlier chapters.
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on December 26, 2013
It's almost impossible to overstate the impact that China's sweeping urbanization campaign is having on its people, its economy and its environment. While this push has indeed raised living standards and incomes for hundreds of millions or ordinary Chinese citizens, major barriers still remain in the shape of stalled hukou reforms, severe fiscal imbalances and an archaic land rights system that invites abuse by local governments and developers (to name just a few).

This lively and well-researched book offers an excellent overview of the process that's changing China, with plenty of anecdotes to highlight conditions on the ground in various localities. For newer students and observers of contemporary China, Mr Miller's book should be considered essential reading. More seasoned China watchers may not find much new here though - the arguments Miller makes about the need for hukou and rural land reforms, for instance, have already been well-trodden by Chinese and foreign commentators - but still, "Urban Billion" is worth a read for its synthesis of the facts and central dilemmas of an extremely complex phenomenon. As events continue to unfold in China, I hope that Mr Miller has the opportunity to update this book in future editions.
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on March 30, 2013
The author characterizes the unprecedented movement of 500 million people from rural to urban locations in the past 30 years and the anticipation of 300 million more in the next 20 years. He highlights the role that massive expenditures on urban infrastructure have played and the problems that remain to make that transition both economically and socially successful. Appropriate attention is given to the role of the hukou (household registration) system and property rights allocation. Although more clarity could be provided on China's leasehold structure versus the freehold structure that exists in the United States and elsewhere, the role of rights allocation deserves its central place in the book. At one point, the author opines that the urbanization strategy could be described as, "if you build it, make them come." I view this as an apt characterization. A worthwhile read for all those interested in China's transition from economic backwater to global economic force.
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on September 4, 2013
China's ghost towns are not a problem. Most of the new towns were built as planned according to the local demands. It will take some time to fill them in, but Chinese can wait as they did with Shanghai and other cities. That's the point of this book' which was very informative. However, I'm still wondering if they can wait this time too, with so much debt on their shoulders.
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on August 11, 2013
This is a short, readable introduction to rural-to-urban migration in China and how local governments and social safety net programs are funded. It's valuable information for anyone curious about some of the innards of Chinese governmental policy. It is somewhat repetitive, but not in a bad way. The repetition helps ensure the reader takes away the correct message.
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on June 20, 2013
I read this book to get a better understanding on China's ghost town rehotric that I've been hearing in the media recently. This book answered a lot of those questions. I've found that most of those stories are unfounded.
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on August 12, 2013
This book explains what the Western Press does not understand: the size of the urban problem facing modern China. It also talks about the kinds of social changes and economic changes demanded in the rural sector. A fascinating read!
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on June 30, 2013
A relatively balanced account on urbanization in China. But readers should read it as soon as possible as China is changing very fast.
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on May 19, 2013
Not knowing much about China I found this book an excellent overview of some of the key challenges facing Chinese development and urbanisation.
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on March 25, 2013
the author is just talking the facts in China, there is no analysis about how the China will be change for next decade. there is no sheets and pictures to show the process and analysis

the fact in China is already known by Chinese

i wanna know the impact of the immigrant

i don't want to recommend this book to anyone. the book is expensive, the price doesn't qualify the contents
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