Thinking and strategic countermeasures of cultivating the fifth-tier cities

GU Shengzu1 WU Yongbin2 WANG Jianrun2

(1.Institute of Development Strategy, Wuhan University)
(2.Economics and Management School of Wuhan University)

【Abstract】Focusing on structural unbalance of China’s urban system, this paper analyzes the foundation of cultivating the fifth-tier cities and its important role on the healthy development of urbanization. The paper indicates that, in order to solve the problem of structural unbalance, it is necessary to take urban agglomeration as the main approach and change the situation of underdevelopment of small and medium-sized cities, to achieve coordinative development of megacities, small and medium-sized cities. At present, some of large towns almost had city’s size and characteristics. A key to developing fifth-tier cities is to turn some large towns into cities with county’s administration. The government should pay more attention to basic innovation and top-level design, speed up reform to improve institutional supply, and orderly change large towns to county level cities. To cultivate the fifth-tier cities, we should adhere to people-oriented mode, develop cities based on industries, and provide big towns with corresponding administrative authority and city’s management functions.

【Keywords】 fifth-tier cities; urbanization; the upgrade of very large towns into cities; urban system;


【Funds】 National natural science foundation of China (71673207).

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(Translated by LIANG Xinzhuo)


    [1]. ① Fifth-tier cities in this paper refer to cities established and governed by counties which positioned after first-tier cities, second-tier cities (sub-provincial cities and provincial capital cities), third-tier cities (prefecture-level cities ) and fourth-tier cities (county-level cities). [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1043/C

Vol , No. 06, Pages 2-10+126

December 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Literature review
  • 2 The current situation of the unbalanced urban scale structure in China
  • 3 Cultivating new medium and small-sized cities by using urban agglomeration as the main platform
  • 4 The present situation of very large towns and the practice of Zhejiang Province in cultivating new small cities
  • 5 Using the “city under the jurisdiction of a county” mode to promote the upgrade of very large towns into cities
  • 6 Thoughts on the countermeasures of promoting the upgrade of very large towns into cities
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