China adopted its reform and open-door policy in the late 1970s. Since then, the pace of urbanization has moved forward at staggering speed. In just a few years, hundreds of millions of people have relocated from rural areas to cities in China. By 1997 the urban population rose from 191 million in 1980 to 380 million. By 2011, as reported by China’s National Bureau of Statistics the number of citizens living in urban areas had increased to 665.57 million. This frantic pace of urbanization, continuing yearly at 0.5 per cent, is one of the highest rates in the world. City planners have met the challenge, coming up with innovative solutions for urban development and urban renewal. There are important lessons western urban planners can learn from China.