Gu Qiang: Promoting High-quality Development of Metropolitan Areas with a Focus on Developing Micro Centers

Gu Qiang: Promoting High-quality Development of Metropolitan Areas with a Focus on Developing Micro Centers

PR Newswire

QIONGHAI, China, March 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2018, China's urbanization rate reached 59.58%. As the main new form of urbanization, metropolitan areas have been gradually boosting China's urbanization process. On March 27, the second day of the Boao Forum for Asia, Gu Qiang, President of Industry Research Institute, CFLD, attended the sub-forum for China's Regional Development in the Era of Metropolitan Areas, and stated that construction of micro centers was conducive to high-quality development of metropolitan areas.

At present, the characteristics of the Chinese metropolitan era are becoming increasingly obvious. Population growth, employment, commuting, space expansion and industrial relations in China all exhibit patterns of metropolitan areas. The Beijing metropolitan area provides a good example. More than 360,000 people working in Beijing live in areas surrounding urban Beijing, while within the overall Shanghai metropolitan area, there are 5, 12 and 10 nodal cities with populations of over one million, 200,000 to one million, and 50,000 to 200,000 respectively.

During the sub-forum, Gu Qiang pointed out that in a network-style urban system where metropolitan areas were highly integrated, micro centers are an important component of the metropolitan area. The gap between China's metropolitan areas and those of the international community is not found in the core areas, but primarily in the micro centers and nodal cities. For example, the numbers of cities in Tokyo that have a population of 500,000 to one million, 200,000 to 500,000, and 50,000 to 200,000 are respectively 5, 18 and 84, and the corresponding numbers of cities for Beijing are 2, 7 and 8. Therefore, during sustainable development of metropolitan areas, it is an inevitable need to integrate the development of nodal cities and micro centers into the spatial planning system of metropolitan areas and to promote the establishment of an intensive and rational metropolitan space system.

The current development of nodal cities and micro centers in the metropolitan areas of China is seriously inadequate, and the construction of cross-city transport infrastructure lags greatly behind. For example, the total length of railways in suburban Beijing is only 290 kilometers, far less than Tokyo's 4,476 kilometers and London's 3,076 kilometers. On average, the extreme commuting time in Beijing is 72 minutes, and 54% of such commutes occurs in the three northern counties in Langfang. Gu Qiang proposed the building of micro centers using both a public transport-oriented development (TOD) model and a service-oriented development (SOD) model so as to optimize metropolitan area spatial structures.

According to Gu Qiang, the construction of the new urban areas in both London and Tokyo were based on TOD and SOD concepts. While promoting the TOD model, China should simultaneously advance the SOD concept in order to improve the basic public-service-sharing mechanism and boost industry-city integrated development.

Gu Qiang said that, taking Gu'an as a typical case of the public-private-partnership (PPP) model, social capital itself had the vital function of being responsible for the planning, design, development, industry development and urban operation of the entire new city or new district, while the government was primarily responsible for top-level design, administrative approval, order keeping, public service supervision, and so forth, without increasing government debt. At the conclusion of the partnership, all public infrastructure facilities and public services are handed over to the government. This is an innovation and exploration of the PPP model.

CFLD's own development benefits from the development and prosperity of Gu'an, the spillover of Beijing's population, industries and other factors. The Gu'an case provides a significant reference point for companies to launch operations nationwide. At present, CFLD has plans to develop new industry cities driven by spillovers from core cities within the 15 major metropolitan areas, such as those of Beijing and Shanghai.


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