China's sprint toward urbanization: Seeking more balanced development
April 12,2018 By:China.org.cn
April 12,2018--Spurred by its policy of reform and opening up, China has experienced the largest and most rapid urbanization in human history; in 30 years China's urbanization rate rose from less than 20 percent to over 58 percent.
Its development, however, is unbalanced, said Li Tie, chairman and chief economist of the China Center for Urban Development, speaking at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on Apr. 10.
With their sophisticated infrastructure and concentrated access to education, healthcare and other opportunities, megacities are attracting more people to work and stay, causing urban woes like pollution, over-crowdedness, runaway property prices and traffic congestion. At the same time, medium-sized and smaller towns face the conundrum of attracting talent, industry and investment.
"Based on overseas experiences, urban diseases appear at a certain stage of urbanization," Li noted. "And this prompts relatively small towns nearby to help relieve them."
According to the report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, to the 19th CPC National Congress, China will create networks of cities and towns based on city clusters, enabling the coordinated development of cities of different sizes, and small towns, and speed up work on granting permanent urban residency to people who move from rural to urban areas.
Specifically, the report urged the government to drive the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, develop forward-looking plans and adopt high standards for building the Xiongan New Area. Furthermore, the development of the Yangtze Economic Belt will be facilitated by promoting well-coordinated environmental conservation and avoiding excessive development.