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Wednesday, 8th January 2014

Reimagining China’s Cities: Towards a Sustainable Urbanisation

Source: chinadialogue

From China's Urban Dilemma:

After nearly three decades of rapid urbanisation, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. More than 400 million people have already moved into cities in the past thirty years; and in 2011 China crossed the threshold of a predominantly urban society. Today more than 52% of Chinese citizens live in cities, and by 2025 the government wants that figure to be 70%. To achieve this up to 250 million people will have to move in the next 12 years....

What kind of cities will China build in the next decade to house the further 250 million city dwellers planned for 2025? Will that be ten new cities of 25 million inhabitants? Three new mega-cities of 70 million? Or 100 smaller cities of 2.5 million? How will these people live? How will they earn their living? How far will they commute each day? Will they live in energy efficient buildings? Will their new homes have enough water to cope with urban life and will the waste they generate be recycled?

The design of China’s future cities will not only affect the health and well-being of their residents; it will also be an important factor in the battle to contain China’s soaring carbon emissions. These questions, therefore, are of high importance to all of humanity. If China is to become the sustainable society envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan, it would be wise to look for models in such cities as Copenhagen, rather than such outdated models as Los Angeles.

If China does reach its urbanisation target, it will be a very different society in just 12 years. Few societies have undergone such rapid upheaval without consequences and the impacts in China will extend beyond the short-term social and economic shifts. In the past five years China’s urban middle classes have become vocal in defence of their property interests and in their desire for a less stressful, less polluted environment in which to bring up their children.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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