Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities translated in Chinese and adapted for the Chinese context


Our award-winning book Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities has been translated into Chinese and adapted for the Chinese context, in collaboration with our partners the Chinese Centre for Urban Development (CCUD). The book will be launched on Wednesday July 8 in the ‘Online Seminar on Belt and Road Sustainable Cities – Building Liveable Cities in Post-COVID-19 Time’. The seminar will be guided by The National Development and Reform Commission, P.R. China, and will host numerous high-level Chinese government officials and representatives of international organisations including ICLEI and UN-Habitat


There are more than 280 prefecture-level cities and 380 county-level cities in China’s mainland. Although hugely different in their economic strength and population size, they all have the functions of secondary cities to a certain extent and level. At present, these cities are facing the challenge in "strengthening the weak areas". Under the context of globalization and information technology, connectivity, network and collaboration,  'Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities' book provides new ideas and approaches for cities to "identify" and “improve” their weaknesses , and also provides a new perspective for the formulation of "14th Five-year Plan" for secondary cities in China.

Qiu Aijun,  Deputy Director General, China Center for Urban Development


Systems of secondary cities play a vital intermediary role as economic, administrative and logistics hubs within national and global systems of cities. The growth and development of secondary cities will be particularly crucial for China as it looks to expand and grow through it’s Belt and Road initiative. Our book examines the ways that Chinese secondary cities can work more collaboratively to improve their development prospects, lift prosperity, and leverage public resources to support equitable and sustainable sub-national economic growth and development.


The model of secondary cities competing independently to secure central government grants, investment and jobs, is no longer sustainable.   Secondary cities must become more collaborative, connected, and willing to operate as networks of trading cities if they are to secure a more equitable share of national economic growth and overcome the growing problem of inequity in regional and local economic development.

Brian Roberts, Author, Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities, & Director, Urban Frontiers Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia Emeritus Professor University of Canberra


Download the publication here


Watch Professor Brian Roberts Presentation at the launch event here: 



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