The Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT has paid great attention to the development and planning issues in China ever since China’s economic reforms of the late 1970s. The involvement of DUSP has been extensive, ranging from faculty research projects, joint studios, exchange programs, and joint research labs, to student admissions, training seminars, and workshops. DUSP affiliated scholars, practitioners, and government officials are playing active roles not only in improving our understanding of the complex and large-scale urban development in China, but also in facilitating policy decisions and plan-making in a sustainable and productive way.
The idea of having a special issue of Projections on China planning and development first emerged from the success of the DUSP-sponsored China Planning Network (CPN) annual conferences held at Harvard (2004) and MIT (2005). The large number of participants and the enthusiastic response worldwide to these events made such a journal issue not only feasible but also necessary. Nevertheless, it is impossible for one volume to cover all the important topics affecting development and planning in China. The five selected papers focus on only a few critical issues: conservation, transportation and land use, location choices, and growth at the urban fringe. Four papers are by Chinese scholars or students, and only one paper is by two US scholars. We hope that publication of this issue can help attract more attention to China from domestically-oriented US planning educators, students, and practitioners, and will lead to an increase in high-quality research. If this Volume succeeds in its purpose, it will recall an ancient Chinese saying: throwing a brick while returning a jade.