China's urban population has risen from less than one-fifth of the total population to more than half in recent years. This means millions of people are moving and living in urban areas in China. According to reports, by 2030, up to 70 percent of China's population is likely to live in cities. This big migration into the city presents new opportunities for the poor to improve their lives. China's urbanization has supported the country's impressive growth and rapid economic transformation. This transformation has helped millions of people with less than 3% of the urban population living in poverty. However, China's investment and export driven growth model is showing signs of running out of steam. Its land-hungry urbanization has led to urban sprawls and congestion. It is also a growing source of unrest among farmers who feel under- compensated for the loss of their land.
Urbanization has exposed many more people to pollution, and thus the costs in human lives and economic loss are on the rise. The World Bank and the Development Research Center of China's State Council have just issued a joint report on a new model: more efficient, inclusive and environmentally sustainable urbanization, can become reality. If implemented, China's next phase of urbanization can make a big difference to its urban and rural poor.