Urban landscape of Chongqing, one of the fastest growing city in China.
One of the founding element of China's transformation over the past decades has been the urbanization of its population.. The share of rural population dropped from 75% to 45% in just 25 years. Hundreds of millions of people moving and drastically changing their lifestyle.. This phenomenon has triggered a total reshaping of China's urban landscape. Historic neighborhoods have been razed to leave room to high-rises and shopping malls. Alleyways have become expressways. Meanwhile this influx of population has put urban infrastructures under stress, with packed buses and subways, drying water resources, and increased air pollution.
Buyers and sellers at a real estate market fair in Beijing.
A woman tending to a vegetable garden with a giant real estate project, the 1.12 million square meters Chongqing Raffles City, looming behind her. This project will redefine the megalopolis skyline.
A migrant's child standing in the ruins of Beijing traditional housing near the Forbidden City. The destruction of old neighborhoods including many architectural treasures is one consequence of China's urbanization.
Construction for a new subway line in Beijing. Thousands of kilometers of subways have been built over the past decade as cities expanded both in population and superficy while city centers got ensnared in notorious traffic jams. In Beijing alone over 500 kilometers of subways have been built between 2008 and 20016.
A worker by a construction site in Beijing.
A man staring at a large residential complex under construction by the Yangtze in Chongqing. Part of the "Chongqing Model" developed by Party Secretary Bo Xilai includes the construction of social housing. Chongqing has the fastest growing GDP in China. Residential housing investment as a share of China's GDP has tripled from 2% in 2000 to 6% in 2011.
Lanzhou New Area, a city emerging from the sands. The construction of the city started in 2012, and involved levelling hundreds of barren hills. As of 2017 only a few thousands inhabitants had moved in. The city has been planned to harbour 1 million inhabitants by 2020.
China's urbanisation has lead to the creation from scratch of dozens of new cities, few of which have been successful.
An themed park of Lanzhou New Area, featuring a real size Acropolis and Sphinx. The park has been built to attract visitors and create work in this new city which as only a few thousands inhabitants so far.
A ring road under construction in Lanzhou New Area, a city built from scratch in Gansu Province.
Residential buildings under construction in Caofeidian a new city built on reclaimed land at a high cost. Billed as the "world's first realised eco-city" at its inception, 8 years and billions of dollars later, few industries have moved there and the city is mostly empty.
Bad planning, mismanagement, speculation and corruption have led to the creation of many "ghost cities".
Locals going crab fishing with unfinished buildings looming at the horizon. Caofeidian, originally a small island, The construction of this new city on land reclaimed from the sea required billions of dollars. 10 years after the inception of this urban project, of the million people expected just a few thousands have moved in.
A man reflects on window overlooking Chongqing skyline, seen from the megalopolis new business district.
An abandoned fish shaped pedal boat on the dry river bed of the Yonding river one of Beijing major river and water source which dried up in the early 2000s. Urban growth has put urban water resources under heavy stress in particular in the North of China. To solve the issue authorities have embarked on ambitious scheme to divert water from the South to the North and put a cap on population growth in some cities including Beijing. Dozens of thousands of migrants have been expelled from Beijing since 2017 in a move that specifically targets the working class population.