Ur­ban plan­ners re­fin­ing land use for bet­ter fu­ture

Shanghai Daily - - NATION - (Xin­hua)

WITH more res­i­den­tial high-rises and in­dus­trial plants be­ing built as a re­sult of China’s rapid eco­nomic devel­op­ment, plan­ners have stepped up ef­forts to re­fine land use.

Liken­ing such re­fine­ment to an “em­broi­dery type of work,” Huang Yan, deputy min­is­ter of Hous­ing and Ur­ban-Ru­ral Devel­op­ment, said the ef­forts were aimed at in­creas­ing the liv­abil­ity of cities and re­flect­ing lo­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

In­stead of ram­pant de­mo­li­tion and con­struc­tion, the re­fined ur­ban plan­ning should re­tain the his­tory of a city, focus on mi­nor ren­o­va­tion when nec­es­sary and take into con­sid­er­a­tion res­i­dents’ opin­ions.

The old prac­tice of dras­tic ur­ban­iza­tion based on high debts should be aban­doned, Huang said.

Af­ter 40 years of eco­nomic re­form, China’s ur­ban­iza­tion rate has surged to 58.52 per­cent in 2017, up 40.61 per­cent from that in 1978, data from the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics showed.

Cur­rently, China has more than 660 cities. Some 20 city clus­ters of dif­fer­ent sizes host 75 per­cent of ur­ban per­ma­nent res­i­dents and gen­er­ate about 88 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

Each year, some 16.44 mil­lion peo­ple move into cities from ru­ral ar­eas. By the end of 2017, China’s to­tal ur­ban per­ma­nent res­i­dents amounted to 810 mil­lion.

To meet the grow­ing land use de­mand in cities, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has been en­cour­ag­ing the uti­liza­tion of aban­doned or poorly-used land, es­pe­cially min­ing sites and ob­so­lete in­dus­trial premises and ware­houses.

Data from the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources showed seven pro­vin­cial re­gions have fin­ished 14,800 re­de­vel­op­ment projects, cov­er­ing an area of 46,100 hectares by the end of 2017.

An MNR sur­vey based on around 560 Chi­nese cities showed China’s land con­sump­tion per unit of GDP fell from 104.8 hectares per bil­lion yuan in 2011 to 90.7 hectares per bil­lion yuan in 2016.

Such re­fine­ment has caused the pro­por­tion of con­struc­tion land to over­all land sup­ply in east­ern China’s Zhe­jiang Prov­ince to rise from 32.3 per­cent in 2014 to 37.2 per­cent in 2016.

The ren­o­va­tion of poorly-used land also at­tracted the in­flow of pri­vate cap­i­tal. In Jiangsu, an ag­gre­gate fund worth some 202.38 bil­lion yuan (US$29.6 bil­lion) has been raised from pri­vate en­ter­prises, which fa­cil­i­tated the in­crease of in­vest­ment and fos­tered new growth en­gines.

Higher use ef­fi­ciency of con­struc­tion land also al­lowed Shang­hai to ex­pand the city’s green land area by 30 per­cent.

Guang­dong Prov­ince in south­ern China used these lands to build 1,201 pub­lic util­i­ties and add a green land area of 597.35 hectares.

In Chongqing, the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment plans to re­con­struct some 133.33 hectares of garbage sites into 92 sports and cul­ture parks for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Cheng An­dong, for­mer gover­nor of Shaanxi Prov­ince, said the key to boost­ing ur­ban­iza­tion is to ad­vo­cate dif­fer­en­ti­ated devel­op­ment, im­prove the qual­ity of ur­ban­iza­tion and op­ti­mize the spa­tial lay­out so that cities, large or small, can de­velop side by side.

By 2020, about 60 per­cent of Chi­nese will live in cities per­ma­nently, which is still lower than the 70 per­cent for the de­vel­oped economies, he said.

“That means a po­ten­tial for fu­ture devel­op­ment,” said Cheng.

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