Special Report

Cities Issue

Cities Issue

Our special issue dedicated to the cities of the future has its eye squarely toward China, because the cities of the future are increasingly going to be speaking Mandarin — even more than you realize. It’s no longer news that China has embarked on the largest mass urbanization in history, a monumental migration from country to city that will leave China with nearly a billion urbanites by 2025 and an astonishing 221 cities with populations over 1 million. But this isn’t just about size: It’s about global heft. And that’s where the scale of China’s transformation into a world leader is truly astonishing. In an exclusive index for FP, the McKinsey Global Institute has run the numbers to produce what we’re calling The 75 Most Dynamic Cities of 2025 — an extraordinary 29 of which are in China. Some are already global powers, from top-ranked Shanghai to manufacturing dynamo Shenzhen; others, from Fuzhou to Xiamen, were little more than provincial backwaters in the 20th century but look to be household names in the 21st, powering the global economy not just through their sheer size but also through their urban innovation and pulsing drive. Europe, meanwhile, will manage only three cities on the list by 2025; the United States finishes second to China — a very distant second — with 13. Still think that debate about Western decline is overblown?


  • The Most Dynamic Cities of 2025

  • ‘Twitter Is My City’: An Exclusive Interview with Ai Weiwei

  • The East Is Rising: 29 Chinese Cities Powering Global Growth

  • Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction
    By Peter Calthorpe

  • 7 Chinese Innovations That Will Change the Way We Live
    By Dustin Roasa

  • The Rise and Fall and Rise of New Shanghai
    By Daniel Brook

  • Beijing Forever: The Capital Where Change Is the Only Constant
    By Michael Meyer

  • Postcards from the Future

  • Mr. Happy: Is this Communist Party Boss About to Make the Big Time?
    By Geoff Dyer

  • Building a Better China
    By Richard Dobbs and Jaana Remes

  • China’s Debt Bomb
    By Jonathan Kaiman

  • Unlivable Cities
    By Isaac Stone Fish

  • Once Upon a Time in Shanghai

  • Life in a Big Box
    By Matthew Niederhauser

  • The Souls of Chinese Cities
    By Christina Larson