City categorization methodology_OECD and McKinsey examples

This entry examines the city categorization methodology used by McKinsey and OECD in their respective report about Chinese urbanization. I put it here just for us reference in developing our own categorization system.

McKinsey grouped Chinese cities into three horizons on base of their different approaches to urbanization today.

Today, about 65% Chinese urban population live in “industrializing cities”, which are at early phases of industrialization with local industries emphasis on labor-intensive, production-line manufacturing. Development goals focus largely on moving citizens out of poverty by maximizing growth.

About 25-30% Chinese urban population living in “transforming cities” where although GDP growth remains a priority, specialization of industry are even more intently, services start growing, and urban planning starts looking beyond pure GDP and towards improving basic living standards. The population size of transforming cities is between 2-8 million. In this horizon, there are cities at an earlier transforming stage, like Harbin, Changsha, and that at a later transforming stage, like Chengdu, Xiamen, Shenzhen.

The cities in the highest horizon are “modernizing cities” that distinguished themselves with their range of policy to increase their urban profile. Only a handful of cities at most are currently undergoing “modernizing”, like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Dalian and etc.

In the Chinese urban configuration, McKinsey identified 11 clusters as below, and the number following each cluster is the number of cities it contains within: Beijing/Tianjin (28), Shenyang/Dalian (22), Qingdao/Jinan (35), Xi'an (8), Zhengzhou (23), Shanghai (58), Chengdu/Chongqing (31), Wuhan (27), Changsha (20), Xiamen/Fuzhou (14), and Guangzhou/Shenzhen (23). McKinsey also identified 2 megacities Shanghai and Beijing and 6 megacities in making: Tianjin, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, and Chengdu.

Despite the existence of megacities and urban clusters, the overall picture of Chinese urbanization is quite dispersed, with a large number of cities containing 1-1.5 million inhabitants. OECD used a different system in narrating the Chinese conurbation configuration, of which they identified 58 RUS (Regional Urban System). Regional Urban System contains four types of urban configuration: 1) city-centred regions, which contain one metropolitan region that appears to anchor a wide hinterland of smaller cities, towns, and villages; 2) clusters, which hold at least two metropolitan regions; 3) corridors, which hold two or more metropolitan areas, and a range of smaller centres, none of which holds primacy; and 4) megalopolises, which are large, highly-industrialising corridors with distinct metropolitan poles.

OECD found that not all coastal regions are growing equally, and some are falling behind, especially those with low levels of urbanisation and smaller cities with weak agglomeration economies. For example, out of the 7 coastal RUS, 4 (the Shandong Corridor, the Fujian Corridor, the Eastern Guangdong Cluster, and the Zhanjiang Centred Region) appear to have experienced declines in share of China’s GDP or a decline in relative productivity – or both. Also in the largest RUS, the Western Yangtze Cluster comprising most of settled Sichuan and Chongqing, there has been very small increase in productivity and GDP share.

Posted by fiona liu / 11.4 years ago / 9214 hits