Bei­jing takes first place in rank­ing of China’s cities

Sur­vey ap­praises eco­nomic growth, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG YANFEI wangyan­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

With a sus­tain­able and bal­anced growth pat­tern, Bei­jing out­stripped its clos­est eco­nomic com­peti­tor Shang­hai to rank at the top of 295 cities na­tion­wide, in a rating from the na­tion’s top eco­nomic reg­u­la­tor.

The cap­i­tal’s No 1 po­si­tion is based on eco­nomic growth, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­ment in the China In­te­grated City Index, co­com­piled by the National De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion and Cloud River Ur­ban Re­search In­sti­tute and re­leased last week.

Shen­zhen, which ranked top in the en­vi­ron­ment category, was No 3 over­all in the index, fol­low­ing Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

Zhou Muzhi, a pro­fes­sor of ur­ban plan­ning at Tokyo Keizai Univer­sity and one of lead au­thors of the study, said that open­ness and cul­tural legacy help Bei­jing stand out from other out­stand­ing eco­nomic per­form­ers.

“But Bei­jing needs to make a lot more ef­forts to im­prove its en­vi­ron­men­tal sit­u­a­tion if it wants to keep its top rank­ing,” said Zhou, adding that sur­round­ing re­gions need to im­prove pollution con­trol, es­pe­cially He­bei prov­ince, which re­lies heav­ily on nat­u­ral re­sources.

“Coal-fired plants lo­cated only sev­eral hours drive from Bei­jing re­main a ma­jor re­gional source of pol­luted air in the cap­i­tal,” he said.

Ul­ti­mately, only cities with sus­tain­able growth pat­terns will be able to at­tract and re­tain res­i­dents, Zhou said, not­ing that cities lo­cated in China’s three ma­jor ur­ban clus­ters — the Yangtze River Delta, the Bei­jing-Tian­jinHe­bei re­gion and the Pearl River Delta — cur­rently at­tract huge pop­u­la­tion in­flows.

Seven­teen of the top 30 cities where im­mi­grants ex­ceed per­ma­nent res­i­dents are lo­cated in one of those three clus­ters, the study showed.

Bei­jing needs to make a lot more ef­forts to im­prove its en­vi­ron­men­tal sit­u­a­tion if it wants to keep its top rank­ing.” Zhou Muzhi, pro­fes­sor of ur­ban plan­ning at Tokyo Keizai Univer­sity

Top 20 cities in China

Bei­jing Shang­hai Shen­zhen Guangzhou Tian­jin Suzhou Hangzhou Chongqing Nan­jing Wuhan Chengdu Ningbo Xi'an Qing­dao Wuxi Xi­a­men Foshan Chang­sha Dalian Fuzhou 0 50 100

Zhang Xueliang, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at Shang­hai Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics, said future city de­vel­op­ment is able to take ad­van­tage of re­sources pro­vided by the dom­i­nant city in these clus­ters.

He­bei has chal­lenges to over­come with its heavy in­dus­tries, but it might face fewer dif­fi­cul­ties than other prov­inces — for ex­am­ple in North­east China, which grap­ples with over­ca­pac­ity — by in­te­grat­ing re­sources from the cap­i­tal and tak­ing ad­van­tage of con­ve­nient wa­ter­ways in Tian­jin, which has the largest ar­ti­fi­cial har­bor in north China, Zhang said.

As for the rust belt North­east, Xue Lan, dean of the School of Pub­lic Pol­icy and Man­age­ment at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, said the ma­jor prob­lem for the old in­dus­trial bases is that lo­cal of­fi­cials may sac­ri­fice eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and con­tinue to support in­dus­trial over­ca­pac­ity to main­tain short-term growth.

“It could even be pos­si­ble for the North­east to ex­change a slow­down i n short-term growth for healthy de­vel­op­ment in the long-run,” Xue said. “More soft in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment, say, in ed­u­ca­tion, may be more help­ful for the re­gion to re­tain tal­ented peo­ple.”

China In­te­grated City Index over­all score based on eco­nomic growth, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­ment

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