Community centers in Urban China: Context, development, and limitations

Qingwen Xu, Jianguo Gao, Miu Chung Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While China's economic progress and social transformation demand an urgent refurbishment of its social welfare system, after a decade of development community centers have gradually become the major infrastructure of service delivery in urban China. In this article, the authors examine the social and historical context of the development of community services in urban China, and then focus on the community center as an emerging force in a society undergoing considerable change. A study of community centers in Jinan, a large city in eastern China, is reported, which reveals major difficulties that hinder the development of these centers as the principal hubs of community life. The authors outline the possible future directions of community service in China and, in particular, consider the role of community centers in the new social welfare sector of this nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-90
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Community Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


  • Community center
  • Social service
  • Social welfare system
  • Social work community practice
  • Urban China

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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