SHANGHAI - As the key goal in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for Shanghai, the city will focus on the urban planning of suburbs in seven new satellite cities and on developing links with neighboring cities in the Yangtze River Delta.
The municipal city held a news conference on Monday to announce a long-term plan to move development from the downtown area to the suburbs.
"The development of new cities in the suburban area will help Shanghai to become an international city with a well-balanced urban and rural development system and to lead the upgrading restructure of the Yangtze River Delta," said Hu Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Planning, Land and Resources Administration.
According to the plan, the seven new cities, including Lingang New City in Pudong New Area, Qingpu New City and Jinshan New City, will be developed to be the main industrial bases for advanced manufacturing, emerging industries and the modern services industry.
"The construction of those bases will be done in cooperation with neighboring industrial regions such as Kunshan and Suzhou by making Shanghai the center of Yangtze River Delta development," said Hu.
The plan also said that the high-density population in the urban area would be reduced by equipping the new cities with supporting facilities such as schools, hospitals and cultural centers to encourage more people to move out of the city center.
"The urban plan for new cities in the suburbs of Shanghai fits the city structure well by having resources divided reasonably to relieve the crowded city center by encouraging people to live in the suburbs," said Li Tianhua, registered urban planner for the Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute.
The goal for the Songjiang New City, the biggest among the seven new cities, was to have as many as 1.1 million residents in an area of 120 sq km by 2020. Population targets have been set for six other new cities as well.
"We are trying to attract more residents with convenient transport networks, including high-speed railway and other rail transitions as well as better job opportunities after the launch of industrial bases," said Hu.
Hu said the quality of life in the suburbs would be as good as that in the urban center, with a variety of public service resources, convenient transport and environmentally sensitive construction.
"I prefer to live in the urban area as I am working in the city center at the moment and it definitely would take at least twice as long for me to get to work if I lived in the suburbs," said Bao Mingyang, a 29-year-old who lives in Changning district, in the urban area of the city.
Bao added that he probably would move to the suburbs if he found a better job with guaranteed high living standards in those new cities.