Starting from the South: perspectives on urbanisation in China and South Africa

There are major differences between urbanisation in China and South Africa, not least the sheer scale of Chinese cities compared to South African ones. But there are similarities too, such as the loosening of systems to control the inflow of rural residents to urban areas that came with the demise of Apartheid and more recently with reforms to China’s hukou system.

From March 25 to 27, the African Centre for Cities hosted a China-South Africa urban studies workshop, ‘Starting from the South.’ The aim was to debate efforts to relocate the center of urban theory-making southward through a comparative analysis of urbanisation policies and patterns in South Africa and eastern China.

UrbanAfrica.Net interviewed four of the workshop’s keynote speakers to get their perspectives on the differences and similarities between urbanisation in South Africa and China, and to find out more about what can be learned from doing comparative urban studies for these countries.

The video series includes interviews with: Xiangming Chen, Dean and Director of the Centre for Urban and Global Studies at Trinity College; Philip Harrison, South African Research Chair in Development Planning and Modeling at the University of the Witwatersrand; Garth Myers, Director of the Trinity College Urban Studies Program; and Jenny Robinson, Professor of Human Geography at University College London.


Photo of Shanghai via flickr user sama093.











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