Tags: China | Beijing | megacity | megalopolis

Chinese 'Megalopolis' Will be 6 Times Larger Than NYC

Image: Chinese 'Megalopolis' Will be 6 Times Larger Than NYC
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By    |   Monday, 20 Jul 2015 02:15 PM

China's ambitious plan to transform Beijing and its surrounding areas into a 130 million-person "megalopolis" — a metro area six times larger than New York City — is beginning to take shape, according to The New York Times.

The Jing-Jin-Ji region, as it will be known, will encompass 82,000 square miles that link Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province. A high-speed rail will make commutes between the cities no more than an hour.

Though creating Jing-Jin-Ji is intended to "revamp northern China's economy and become a laboratory for modern urban growth" the massive undertaking is faced with financial and logistical problems, including a shortage of hospitals, schools and parks as well as a lack of bus terminals and movie theaters, for example, in the areas outside China's capital city.

"The services are bad," said Zheng Linyun, a resident of Yanjiao, located in the Hebei Province, who commutes about five hours a day to his job in Beijing.

Linyun told the Times that there are 65 children in his 6-year-old son's class and "all we see are more and more people coming here."

China has no property taxes, the Times reports, and cities there must rely on public land sales for tax revenues.

"Municipalities are not allowed to keep other locally raised taxes, for fear that local leaders will misuse the proceeds," according to the newspaper.

"So a bedroom community like Yanjiao has no way to pay for new schools, roads or enough bus service."

In order to effectuate change, the collection and distribution of taxes would need to be revamped, something the Times writes is "an overhaul not on the table."

"Even though the supercity will consolidate affluent Beijing with tax-starved towns like Yanjiao, they will not share revenue," according to the newspaper.

But President Xi Jinping has promised "economic reform"and is pushing forward with the megacity and plans to construct new subway lines and update existing highways to handle the congestion.

Last month, the South China Morning Post reported that the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei would be the "signature project" of Jinping's administration.

"The plan assigns specific economic roles to the cities," according to the Times. "Beijing is to focus on culture and technology. Tianjin will become a research base for manufacturing. Hebei's role is largely undefined, although the government recently released a catalog of minor industries, such as wholesale textile markets, to be transferred from Beijing to smaller cities."

Local reports indicate Jing-Jin-Ji's progress has already begun to increase property values in the Beijing suburbs.

"This is a huge project and is more complicated than roads and rail," said Wang Jun, a historian of Beijing's development. "But if it can succeed, it will change the face of northern China."

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China's ambitious plan to transform Beijing and its surrounding areas into a 130 million-person "megalopolis" - a metro area six times larger than New York City - is beginning to take shape, according to The New York Times.
China, Beijing, megacity, megalopolis
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2015-15-20
Monday, 20 Jul 2015 02:15 PM
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