Project Title: Medium. New pathways for sustainable urban development in China medium-sized cities

Start Date-End Date: 01/09/2015-31/08/2018

ECLT Project Leader: prof. Irene Poli, ECLT

Funding Scheme: EuropeAid EU-CHINA Research and Innovation Partnership ICI+/2014/348-005


The Chinese city-building strategy is currently undergoing a shift. The 'National New-type Urbanization Plan' announced in March 2014 sets out to promote urbanisation as a main driver of the country's economic growth. By 2020, medium-sized cities are likely to receive a large number of rural migrants due to the forthcoming gradual deregulation of the hukou system. If managed well, urban growth in these cities may allow innovative ideas to emerge, and so give rise to new job opportunities and alternative models of urban development. Therefore, medium-sized cities should not replicate the experience of megacities but turn instead towards new governance approaches and instruments to achieve sustainable development in accordance with their size and distinctive demographic transition.

This project focuses on the economic and social dimensions of urban sustainability. It aims at building the capacity of local governments of medium cities to develop socio-technical innovations and meet the challenge of rural migrant integration. More specifically, four main goals are targeted:

  • to get accurate quantitative and qualitative knowledge of socio-economic characteristics of medium cities;
  • to foster cross-fertilization of ideas and bring stakeholders' input into urban governance;
  • to build long-term cooperative networks with local universities and train young experts of Chinese cities;
  • to identify new business opportunities for EU companies


  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS (Coordinator)
  • Hangzhou Normal University
  • Institut d'Etudes Politiques d'Aix en Provence IEPAIX
  • Università Ca' Foscari Venezia - ECLT
  • Spiatial Foresight GmbH

Associated partners

  • Université de Lausanne
  • Université de Neuchâtel


Last update: 12/01/2021