Planning has a major impact on Shanghai
Shanghai has a lot of work to do before it can become a global city.
Land use, planning for natural disasters and economic competitiveness are some of the issues facing the city.
“The city is a container of the uncertainties of economy, and natural, social and political environments,” Zhang Tingwei, a professor of city planning with the University of Illinois, said in a forum on Shanghai’s city planning last week.
“City planners must address these uncertainties in their work.”
Land needs to be preserved to give cities such as Shanghai the ability to cope with natural disasters and security concerns,
Zhang proposed a list of principles to make a city resilient:
The economy, society, infrastructure, land use and biosystem of a city must be multifaceted. Infrastructure constructions should serve multiple purposes. The vitality of innovation and social capitals must be maintained. The city’s economy should be modularized to reduce the influence of crises. The city should have efficient information-feedback systems. And the city should have special systems serving the ecological system.
A heavy rain can easily kill dozens of residents in large cities in China through drowning or electrical shocks. Explosions or pollution caused by natural gas and oil pipelines that were improperly maintained or buried decades ago have caused havoc in several cities in China. Shanghai can draw lessons from those disasters.
“We need to use new theories and methods in city planning today to make better use of the limited space and promote sustainable development of the city,” agreed Zhuang Shaoqin, director of Shanghai’s City Planning Bureau. “The space gives the city potential to cope with the uncertainties in its development. We will pay more attention to reserve more land for future emergency use.”
The experts also discussed Shanghai’s development and how it affects city planning. The municipal government wants to build Shanghai into a global city.
Wang Zhan, a sociologist with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said: “Shanghai will first become a world-class city before a global city.”
Shanghai is the intersection city of the three national economic and trade development strategies: the Yangtze River economic zone, the Maritime Silk Road connecting Southeast Asia, and the Silk Road economic belt across the Eurasian continent.
“These strategies and China’s fast economic growth lay a foundation for Shanghai, a national economic hub, to become a global city,” Wang said. “But China is an oriental country. The language, culture and civilization are all different from the West, who is still the dominant power in the globe. Shanghai should acquire enough cultural soft power to win recognition of the world.”
Shanghai is an expensive city in terms of business costs, apartment rents, salaries, taxes and governance, which can make it less attractive to manufacturing, and research and development departments of global enterprises.
Shanghai also is generally isolated from the other dozens of cities and towns in south Jiangsu and north Zhejiang provinces in the Yangtze River delta region.
“The development of intercity rail transit and high-speed railway should promote the balanced allocation of productive factors in the delta region,” Wang said. “The government is in fact a key for the regional coordination.”
A 6-square-kilometer man-made lake was completed in 2003 in Shanghai’s suburbs to meet emergent needs for fresh water.