New-style urbanisation plan sets out five goals
27 March 2014
The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council have lately released the National New-Style Urbanisation Plan (2014-2020), which points out that urbanisation is an essential route to modernisation, an important solution to addressing problems related to agriculture, the rural areas and farmers and a major force to promote coordinated regional development, stimulate domestic demand and drive industrial upgrade.
The Plan stipulates that great importance must be attached to resolving conflicts and problems which arise during the course of rapid urbanisation. Many rural migrants are finding it difficult to integrate into the city environment and the progress of “citizenisation” is lagging behind. Indeed, the “urbanisation of land” is progressing faster than the “urbanisation of population”, while land for construction has been developed in an extensive but inefficient way. Meanwhile, the spatial layout, scale and structure of urban areas are not reasonable or compatible with their resource and environment carrying capacity. With relatively low standards in urban management, “city diseases” are becoming more acute. Natural, historical and cultural heritage items are not given adequate protection and urban development lacks distinctive characteristics. In addition, the relevant mechanisms and systems are not sound, hampering the healthy development of urbanisation.
The Plan sets out five development objectives. First, efforts should be made to enhance the standards and quality of urbanisation so that it can proceed in a healthy and orderly fashion. The urbanisation rate of the permanent population should reach around 60% while that for registered households about 45%, and that the disparity between these two figures should be reduced by around 2 percentage points. It is also aimed that around 100 million rural migrants and other permanent urban residents would secure household registration in cities.
Second, the overall distribution of urban areas should be enhanced. The objectives are to establish an urban strategic layout of “two lateral and three vertical axes”, enhance the economic and population strengths in city clusters, boost the standardisation and global competitiveness of city clusters in the eastern region, develop city clusters in the central and western regions to become significant growth poles for driving coordinated regional development, perfect the scale and structure of cities, extend the influence of core cities, boost the number of medium-sized and small cities and step up service functions of small towns.
Third, a scientific and rational model should be adopted for city development, under which intensive development with an emphasis on high-density development, mixed functions and public transport should be promoted. The land for construction per capita in urban areas should be strictly controlled to within 100 sqm, with the population density in developed areas to be increased progressively. Action should be taken to develop green production and consumption as the norm in urban economy, while the proportion of energy- and water-saving products, recycled products and green buildings should be considerably increased. Meanwhile, the coverage rate of underground pipe networks in cities should also be raised.
Fourth, a favourable city living environment should be created. Measures should be taken to expand the coverage to all city permanent population of the provision of basic services like compulsory education, employment services, basic old-age pension, basic medical and healthcare services and subsidised housing. Efforts should also be devoted to improving the basic infrastructure and public service facilities, creating a more convenient consumption environment, enhancing the ecological environment, improving air quality and ensuring the safety of drinking water. Adequate protection should be afforded to natural and cultural landscapes. While each city should be developed with its own distinctive characteristics, a people-oriented and intelligent approach should generally be adopted for city management.
Fifth, efforts should be made to continuously improve city systems and mechanisms. Substantial progress should be made to reforms in systems like household registration management, land management, social security, fiscal, taxation and financial systems, administrative management and ecological environment. Any systems and mechanisms impeding healthy urbanisation should be scrapped.
The Plan also proposes embarking on four strategic tasks: enhancing the “citizenisation” of rural migrants in cities in an orderly manner, optimising the spatial layout and pattern of urbanisation, boosting cities’ capacity to develop sustainably and promoting the integration of urban and rural development.
The urbanisation rate of China’s permanent population can still be raised much further. As China’s urbanisation level continues to rise, large, medium-sized and small cities will build transport facilities like railways and roads, and other infrastructure facilities for the supply of electricity, gas and water as well as sewage treatment, creating huge investment and employment opportunities.
Undoubtedly, new-style urbanisation is a lengthy process and cannot be achieved overnight. Under the Plan, China will promote “citizenisation” of rural migrants in cities in an orderly way, based on the principles of respect for individual wishes and preferences, tailor-making policies for different districts, implementing policies in phases and leveraging on existing rural migrants in urban areas to drive further urban population growth. While an emphasis will be placed on rural migrants, the needs of graduates from colleges and vocational and technical schools, workers in urban areas and rural population in city suburbs will be taken into account in accelerating reforms in the household registration system and advancing equality in public service provision.
The Plan makes it clear that various cities and towns should perfect their household registration system for rural migrants. Based on their own carrying capacity and development potential and specific criteria, cities should formulate standards for rural migrants to gain permanent residence rights. These criteria include rural migrants' total years in employment, residence and participation in social security schemes in the cities concerned. Such criteria should be made public to help rural migrants make choices and manage their expectations with regard to household registration matters.
To ensure that cities develop under a scientific and rational model, the Plan proposes that urbanisation programmes should meet with demands in promoting ecological progress and building a green, low-carbon and energy-conserving economy.
- Mainland China
- Mainland China