Chinese cities are undergoing profound changes. Urban development has transformed the townscape; low-rise structures based on courtyard type housing, horizontal in character, have been replaced by vertical constructions. In the 1980s and 1990s Chinese cities were featured by the conflicting wishes for rapid modernization and cultural continuity. The articles of this book refer to experiences drawn from this particular period of time, and are selected among case studies and related theoretical considerations. The case studies are concentrated on four cities: Beijing, Xi'an, Quanzhou and Shanghai. The authors have all been active in different fields of urban transformation in historic Chinese cities. They are politicians, historians, planners, anthropologists, architects and scholars. The articles describe the substantial transformation of the cities and the implications of this change. The contributing authors represent three countries; China, France and Norway. They all participated in two conferences in 1995 and 1996, dealing with urban renewal in housing areas of traditional Chinese cities. The outcome of these conferences constitute the raw material for this book.