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China’s Challenge - Developing Sustainable and Liveable Cities

China’s Challenge

Developing Sustainable and Liveable Cities

 

In 2011 the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced that China’s urban population had surpassed 50 percent. For the first time in China’s long history, there were more citizens living in cities than in rural areas.

 

Scenario

China’s urbanisation process is unprecedented in terms of its speed and scale.  It took just six decades for China’s urban population to expand from 10 to 50 percent.  This same transition took 150 years to occur in Europe and 210 years in Latin America and Caribbean. 

Never has a state had to deal with the pressure of demand for urban living space that China now faces.  Recognising the enormity of the social and environmental challenges presented by this massive population shift, the country’s leadership has placed urbanization on top of its political agenda.  

This project aims to present an overview of the surge of urbanization that has occurred in China in recent decades and its major implications. It is a vast topic but the story will focus on the key environmental and social challenges presented by the unprecedented rate and scale of the urbanisation process which must be tackled if China is to realise its stated vision of an Ecological Civilization accommodated in Sustainable and Liveable Cities.

Rationale

I have chosen this topic because it has global relevance, is an extraordinary story of massive proportions and implications and because it lends itself well to visual story telling. Also, there is a large volume of credible data available notably in the recently published China National Human Development Report 2013, produced by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

I realize that it could be the subject of a lengthy documentary and my challenge is to convey the key information in about 120 seconds.

 

 

Key Contextual Facts

In the period 1978 to 2012, China’s urbanisation rate has increased from 17.9 % to 52.6%.

710 million Chinese people now live in cities and towns.

Between 1980 and 2010, China’s share of the world’s total urban population grew from 10%

to nearly 19%.

During the next two decades, nearly 310 million more people are expected to migrate from rural to urban areas

Advanced manufacturing and modern service industry are gathered in cities and towns which have become the engines of China’s rapid economic growth.

China’s urbanisation is characterized by high consumption, excessive emission, over-expansion, low efficiency of resource allocation and enormous resource and environmental costs.

 

The challenges to be covered in the project

Equality - integrating rural migrants into urban society in an equitable manner

Infrastructure - developing robust, efficient and sustainable urban infrastructure

Environment - maintaining and enhancing urban environmental quality

Resources – developing sustainable water and energy supply solutions

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