GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (1): 33-44.doi: 10.11821/dlyj020180442

Special Issue: 人口与城市研究

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Migration, floating population and urbanization in China: Realities, theories, and strategies

Jianfa SHEN()   

  1. Department of Geography and Resource Management and Research Centre for Urban and Regional Development, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • Received:2018-07-11 Revised:2018-10-23 Online:2019-01-20 Published:2019-01-20


The unequal urban-rural relation in the pre-reform period has been shifted into urban areas in the form of unequal intra-urban relation between residents with local hukou and floating population without local hukou. Thus current urbanization of China is incomplete and not inclusive. To achieve complete urbanization in China, attention should be paid to three important aspects: the usual rural to urban migration, the integration or inclusion of floating population in urban areas, and the urban-rural integration in the urban periphery. The government and enterprises are partly responsible for the problems facing the temporary population. The paper discusses the basic theories of urbanization in the context of hukou system as well as the theories of urban integration of floating population. The author argues that the system approach should be used to study the urbanization and urban-rural integration issues. The approach can be applied to the planning, development, construction and expansion of people-nature symbio-tic systems at various scales. A new town example from Hong Kong is used to demonstrate what kind of sustainable communities may be planned and developed to meet the aspiration of residents in modern cities.

Key words: migration, floating population, urbanization theory, sustainable urbanization, China