The paper aims to analyze the complexity of urban transformation in China in the post-reform era and investigate the trends in the current transitional era. First, the paper reviews the urban transformation in the shift from centrally-planned economy to market economy: decentralization and urban autonomy; urbanization and urban physical development; globalization and urban economic restructuring. Then, the paper reveals the complexity of urban transformation through analyzing decentralization and urban governance; urban expansion and sustainable development; marginalized population and urban social management. The paper argues that the complexity of urban transformation lies in the mismatch between fast urban development and insufficient urban planning and management. In the facet of knowledge economy and enlarged urban-rural inequality, trends of urban transformation in this transitional era are analyzed and predicted: new urban economic restructuring toward knowledge economy; compact urban physical pattern and complementary development involving both urban and rural areas; comprehensive urban welfare that covers both urban citizens and rural immigrants.
Keywords: Urban transformation, reform and opening-up, transitional era, knowledge economy,
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