Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015

Conference on Urban Development Lays out Solutions for China's Urban Problems

(CRI Online)    20:16, December 22, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks at the Central Urban Work Conference in Beijing, capital of China. The conference was held in Beijing from Dec. 20 to Dec. 21. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

A series of new broad-based plans have been laid out at a national conference on urban development priorities, with safety and a change in overall strategy toward city-building coming from the sessions.

In an attempt to focus more on urban problems and ways to solve them, this year's Urban Development Confrence in Beijing has shifted its focus away from infrastructure constrcution toward proper urban development.

Those at the event say this is the first time in 37-years the focus of the annual session has not been on infrastructure building.

Professor Qi Shuyu with the National School of Administration says the timing of the conference, at the end of the current five-year plan, is a sign the central government is starting to better understand the need for proper urban management.

"Urban development plays a pivotal role in the development of the country, especially in the development of the Chinese economy in the coming 5-years. Urban areas are both major areas for consumers and service providers. In addition, innovation mostly comes from urban areas as well. But at the same time, urban areas are also the places where major problems can take place. Take the Shenzhen landslide as an example."

Qi Shuyu says one of the priorities they've focused on is safety.

He says the other is developing cities on the basis of serving "people."

"We need to better understand what the essence of a city is, as well as better define what responsibilities the government should take. Urbanization should serve people's needs. The highest level of urbanization is its livability. Another point is how the government can take its own steps toward better serving the interests of the people."

This year's conference also discussed ways to give migrant workers in cities more opportunities.

Qi Shuyu says any new urbanization programs should balance the needs of the locals with those who are non-hukou holders.

"Urbanization shouldn't just benefit those who have lived in a city for a long time. It should also be beneficial to the development of people from rural areas. The problem of rapid urbanization is here, now that farmers are coming off the fields and looking for work in cities."

The Chinese goverment has been taking steps toward green development in Chinese cities.

However, observers say a number of obstacles still lie ahead. Professor Qi Shuyu says the actual conditions in China, including the massive population flows, have been holding back the urbanization process.

"For one thing, urbanization is happening too fast. This is the main driver of the massive population flows, which, in turn, create very high demand for infrastructure construction, management and services in a city. Another hurdle is the concept of 'city,' the center of which should be 'people' instead its economic development. The last is the management of the government, including the elimination of bureaucracy, as many municipal functions are overlapping and conflicting."

China's urbanization rate surpassed 50 percent this year 2015.

In 1978 when Reform and Opening up was first suggested, only around 18 percent of the country lived in an urban setting.

To adapt to the changes in the social structure in China, a new urbanization plan is going to be released next year. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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