Thursday, January 27, 2011
China, with 1.3 billion people, roughly a quarter of the world’s population, has begun an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta.
The “Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One” scheme will create a 16,000 sq mile urban area that is 26 times larger geographically than Greater London, or twice the size of Wales.
The new mega-city will cover a large part of China’s manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou (formerly Canton) to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.
Twenty-nine rail lines, totaling 3,100 miles, will be added, cutting rail journeys around the urban area to a maximum of one hour between different city centers. According to planners, phone bills could also fall by 85 per cent and hospitals and schools will be improved.The southern mega city conglomeration is intended to wrestle back a competitive advantage from the growing urban areas around Beijing and Shanghai.
By the end of the decade, China plans to move ever greater numbers into its cities, creating some city zones with 50 million to 100 million people and “small” city clusters of 10 million to 25 million.
In the north, the area around Beijing and Tianjin, two of China’s most important cities, is being ringed with a network of high-speed railways that will create a super-urban area known as the Bohai Economic Rim. Its population could be as high as 260 million.