For many years I have been very interested in development in China and I was looking for an opportunity to do some work there. This opportunity arose out of the blue when I was informed that the Chinese had published a book in Chinese which I had written in 1970 and forgotten all about it. My book was entitled 'The Making of Cities' and was aimed at the layman who is a decision-maker in the planning process. That book was published without any reference to me or my publishers because the Chinese hadn't signed an international convention on copyright but instead, they invited me to visit their country and, in some ways, I much preferred it. Now I started visiting China in 1983 and after a few lecture tours I was invited by the Shenzhen Urban Planning Commission to act as one of their advisors. Now Shenzhen is one of the most important 'special economic zones' which is spear-heading the modernisation program in which China is engaged at present.
China is still amongst the poorest countries in the world as shown in red on the slide. However, conditions are changing extremely fast particularly since 1978 or 79 and one could say that China is a country in transition 'par excellence'.
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