The Center for Modern Chinese City Studies at East China Normal University was founded in March 2003 and was authorized as the Key Research Institute of humanities and social sciences approved and supported by the Ministry of Education of China in November 2004. Professor Yuemin Ning is the Center's Director, and Professor Jinhong Ding，Professor Yingfang Chen，Professor Bindong Sun and Professor Dennis Wei are the Vice Directors. The Center comprises four research groups, specializing respectively in Urban Economics and Planning, Urban Population and Society Development, Urban History and Culture Development, and Urban Institution and Management. At present, it owns a high-level research term of 15 staff and 14 research fellows including an overseas scholar.
Researchers of subjects related have focused on China's urbanization, urban economy, society, culture, history and environment for years in our university. In 1979, for the first time in China, postgraduates majoring in urban geography were enrolled in East China Normal University. Since early 1980's, surveys of urban population and community have been carried on. And afterwards, researchers on historical and cultural studies have begun to be involved in urban studies.
The Center has developed some specific research fields such as urban economy and the sustainable development, urban population and the social development, urban history, urban cultural studies and urban institution, based on such five sub-disciplines authorized to confer Ph.D. degrees as Modern and Contemporary Chinese History, World History, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, Demography, Human Geography and some other three post-doctoral research stations, including History, Chinese Language and Literature, and Geography. The Center sticks to the path of combining theory with practice, setting foot on Shanghai and serving the whole country. It has successively taken responsibility for almost one hundred research projects in recently five years, including over 20 projects funded by National Social Science Foundation, National Natural Science Foundation of China, key research programs of Ministry of Education and Shanghai municipal government, as well as more than 60 scientific research projects and consultant projects from the local authorities, business companies and other institutions, twenty of which won ministerial and provincial level awards. The Center aims to provide service for the development of both the city of Shanghai and other parts of China, which has eventuated in remarkable scientific achievements in social science in our country.