Urbanization Plans: 90% of Prefecture Level Cities in China Are Planning New Districts; Plans Would Increase Urban Area by 780%; Suitable for 3.4 Billion People

What is a Prefecture level city?
A prefectural level city is often not a "city" in the usual sense of the term (i.e. a large continuous urban settlement), but instead an administrative unit comprising, typically, a main central urban area (a city in the usual sense, usually with the same name as the prefectural level city), and its much larger surrounding rural area containing many smaller cities, towns and villages. The larger prefectural level cities span over 100 kilometres (62 mi).

......Criteria that a prefecture must meet to become a prefectural level city:

An urban centre with a non-rural population over 250,000
gross output of value of industry of 200,000,000 RMB (US$32 million)
the output of tertiary industry supersedes that of primary industry, contributing over 35% of the GDP

That wiki link lists 286 cities, but the article below says there are 156. Either way, this is a lot of cities.

According to one report, 90% of these cities are planning to build new districts. 12 provincial capitals are planning 55 new districts between them. One city alone is planning on building 13 new districts. The planned developments have a total area that is 7.8 times the area of the existing urban area in these cities, suitable for a Chinese population of 3.4 billion people.

Important to note that these are plans, not reality. This is not like the 2008 stimulus drive where every plan under the Sun gets financed. If you went to a local or state government in the United States, they too might have projects worth billions (such as every single school district wanting a new school, new bridges, new tunnels, new roads, new airports, etc.), but no money to pay for it and no real hope of putting the plans into effect anytime soon. Among these plans, only those that are able to obtain financing will be built. Given the current state of land financing, local government debt levels and banks' willingness to lend, these plans face a lot of headwinds.

This highlights the risk of central planning. The article closes with a quote from Li Tie pointing out that most cities develop organically and expand naturally, most cities in history are not planned. It also clearly shows the potential disaster that would result if there was another huge stimulus plan like the 4 trillion yuan one from 2008.

Survey shows that 90% of the prefecture-level city to build a new city ghost town sleeping city and other phenomena
12 provincial capitals plan to build 55 new Metro Areas, one city alone plans to build 13, "empty city", "sleeping city", "ghost city" and other phenomena are frequent ...... China from the 19th Metro reporter in Shanghai (real estate) held New Development Forum was informed that the National Development and Reform Commission recently survey cities and small towns Reform and Development Center showed that 90 percent of the prefecture-level city is planning Metro Area, part of the city built in the Metro area has reached 7.8 times the existing built-up area.

Experts believe blindly covet "city management" around town "thousands of city side," disjointed urban and industrial development, making the city have become the hot new push hands. Rising level of urbanization, while Metro need to guard against disorderly construction and development, planning and actual demand balance.

A city Metro area is 7.8 times the current city

National Development and Reform Commission and City reform and development of small towns center director Li Tie said the old town of the city to accommodate the limited force, while construction of the new service development appears low, inadequate mechanisms for sustainable development and "empty", "sleeping city "and so on.

Reporters learned that the National Development and Reform Commission reform and development of urban centers and small towns Task Force 2013 survey 156 prefecture-level cities in 12 provinces, districts and 161 county-level cities. The survey found that more than 90 percent of the prefecture-level city is planning to build new city district. In addition, 12 of the capital city planning and construction of 55 new city district, capital city should have a new 13 urban areas.

Moreover, part of the New Town planning area increased year by year. The survey shows that a western capital city built three proposed new district, 5 Metro, the total area of ​​the existing built-up area of ​​7.8 times. Again, Zhengzhou (real estate) market built area of ​​132 square kilometers, but the planned Zhengdong New Area of ​​150 square kilometers.

"Metro hot" is moving from the provincial capital to prefecture-level cities, county-level city gradually down, county and town construction is also heating up. Stanford University Professor Meng Qingxuan believes the city alone will be difficult artificially constructed, the Metro expansion plan blind. "Even tens of square kilometers more than the Metro, the new range has been competing with each other in terms of taxes, subsidies and other."

"Empty", "sleeping city" phenomenon

New urbanization in accordance with national planning, by 2020, the resident population urbanization rate to reach about 60%, about 100 million migrant agricultural workers and other resident population will settle in cities.

Experts believe that new construction has no lack of risks: First, massive construction projects are expensive. "Big city, little district" Datong (building) have minor differences, even within the same city a few district have overlapping functions and capabilities, and redundant construction. Big streets, large artificial lake, a large fountain, a large plaza abound, imitate European style, classical style. "This large-scale, large city ecology will result in high costs for the service industry development and may become a 'dead city'." Tie said.

Second-intensive investment and construction, multilayered competition. City "pie" will bring out lots of people looking for a slice. Meng Qingxuan believes that urbanization must first solve the financing problem, avoid the "city of debts" that exist today.

"There is research data that shows all of the new city and new district plans assume the population will reach 3.4 billion people, which means that even if China's population doubled it would still be less." NDRC cities and small towns reform and development research center deputy director Qiao Runling said, because planning differs from reality, each district will have find investment, will lower prices to attract investment from each other, the result is often "lose-lose."

The third is a "ghost town", "sleeping city" and so on. Behind the spread of "Metro hot" is no lack of debt, build - transfer of land - raising land prices "city business" approach. University of Tokyo professor Zhou Mu believes that at the same time Midwest population transfers to the coast, some of the new town development is still only residential. Not only does it not meet the public's demand, but it is also contrary to the rules of the evolution for an international city.

How to "manufacture a city" more reasonably? Tie believes that urban development should be spread along the functional areas of natural-based, rather than artificially planning based. Historically most of the city is not planning to form a new majority is the result of the economic laws of development.

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