Global motorization, social ecology and China

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The global diffusion of motorization has become a significant driver of local and regional change around the world. In the South (the developing countries), especially in China, the scale of its impact in the twenty-first century carries the potential to dwarf that of motorization in the North (the developed countries) in the twentieth century. While alarms have been sounded about the threat of greatly increased greenhouse emissions posed by China's telescoped development of motorization, this paper analyses its neglected social and ecological impacts. Through an analysis of car and land use data, China's loss of agricultural land and growing social polarization are highlighted.

Keywords: Chinese cities; hyperautomobility; motorized urban sprawl; secondary analysis; social ecology of risk; transport injustice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Sociology Department, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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