The starting point of this research is to investigate to what extent the evolution of urban planning has developed after the opening up of reform, under the state-led and market-driven modes of Chinese reformation.
In recent years, China has undoubtedly undergone a dramatic process of urban growth and transformation. Apart from its speed and scope, what is less recognized is that these processes are confronting the Chinese planning institutions with new and unexpected demands almost on daily basis. In reference to the increasing importance of private investments and developments within Chinese urbanization, a new balance between public planning and private developments, between top down and bottom up approaches is required which is able to generate both, a reliable and responsible framework for long-term urban development and a flexible system of implementation that meets the needs of changing conditions and new demands. The starting point of this research is to investigate to what extent the evolution of urban planning has developed after the opening up of reform, under the state-led and market-driven modes of Chinese reformation. Another focus, then, is studying how the different modes and various actors have influenced urban planning, through cumulative research based on analyses of the respective political and economic changes within initial reformation, in general, and planning, in particular.
This study investigates the conditions, approaches and results of contemporary urban planning in China by analysing the developments in one of the fastest growing cities of the country: Shenzhen, located in the Pearl River Delta, can be regarded as an almost newly constructed city with approximately 300.000 inhabitants in 1980 and reaching 10.47 million in 2011. During a relatively short period of development the degree of acceleration and scope of an entirely unexpected growth forced local planning authorities to constantly readapt to changing conditions and new demands. Investigating the contemporary urban transformation and urban development processes in China can allow us to outline the new planning culture of contemporary China as related to its historical roots and traditional characteristics in a consistent time framework. It argues that the changing role of urban planning is strongly embedded into the political, economic, and social domains and is a part of cultural innovation.