Ancient capital aims big in urban planning

By Ma Lie (
Updated: 2010-01-28 19:15
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XI'AN:Shaanxi governor Yuan Chunqing unveiled an ambitious plan to build Xi'an into an international metropolis by linking it with the neighboring city of Xianyang.

He told deputies to the provincial people's congress on Thursday that his government will focus on that goal during 2010.

"The resident population will be over 10 million from the present 4 million in the urban area, which will be enlarged to 800 sq km from 400 sq km with main urban areas, satellite towns and the integration of Xi'an and Xianyang," the governor said.

Xianyang is Shaanxi's third largest city, located some 30 kilometers away from the capital city. Two new districts have been designed to link the two cities into one metropolis.

"We will build our transportation for middle and western areas with urban roads, highways, intercity rail and air routes, and build our industrial layout with high technology, advanced manufacturing, modern services, cultural industry and tourism as well as modern agriculture," Yuan said.

Zhao Binzheng, director of Xianyang urban and rural construction and planning bureau, said the integration of Xi'an and Xianyang will greatly promote development of his city. "Without such a strong neighbor, which is more attractive to outside investment, talents and projects, Xianyang has less chance for its own development if the two cities were not integrated," Zhao said.

Li Ke, a worker in Xi'an, felt happy to hear the plan of Xi'an-Xianyang integration.

"My parents are living in Xianyang and I hope the subway under construction will extend to Xianyang. Then it will be convenient for me to see my parents," Li said.

Wei Jingfei, deputy director of Shaanxi's commerce chamber and representative to the congress, said that the integration plan could be improved.

"I think the districts should be built as central business districts for the two cities and I hope the districts are built for modern financial industry and logistics industry, in order to promote urban development around the two cities," Wei said.

Xi'an once was the world's largest city, with a population of more than 1 million. It was the country's capital city for 13 dynasties. The ancient Silk Road (developed in 138 BC to 119 BC) linking China with Central Asia and Europe started from Xi'an.