Urbanization must be more rational to avoid repeating past mistakes
At the second International Forum on Sustainable Urban Development held recently, Xu Lin, director of the China Urban and Small Town Reform and Development Center, said in 20 years, 80 percent of China's population will be living in urban areas and sustainable urban development will undoubtedly be a big challenge. Legal Daily comments:
Some big cities already suffer from serious urban diseases ranging from air pollution to traffic jams. Their expansion relies primarily on the boom of real estate industry and the explosion of their population. The heavy pressure on transport and public services in the megacities have become increasingly unbearable.
The growth of big cities is partially based on the hollowing-out of smaller towns. Thus the development gaps among cities continues to widen.
To tap cities' potential as economic growth engines over the next 20 years and make the development of the cities more balanced, China needs to ensure that the urbanization over the next 20 years is more rational, so as to put an end to the current extensive style of urbanization.
It is advisable to classify cities into different ranks, stipulating the upmost population density and scale for each rank, which should serve as a bottom line for future urbanization to keep the growth of cities under control. Accordingly, the number of kindergartens, schools, hospitals and residential communities can be calculated to ensure there are sufficient affordable public services.
China should demonstrate more foresight and heed the lessons from its urbanization over the past 40 years in the planning of future urbanization in order to avoid creating environmental and social problems and urban maladies.
Urbanization is the only way for China to move toward modernization. But it needs to be rational for the future development of the nation.