Tag Archives: urban policies

Urban, Planning and Transport Research: An Open Access Journal

Urban, Planning and Transport Research. Vol. 1, n° 1, 2013-…ISSN : 2165-0020. URL : http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rupt20/current#.VFuXK2fehyF

Urban, Planning & Transport Research is a fully Open Access journal offering rapid publication and wide dissemination of new research to a global audience. It publishes peer-reviewed contributions in all areas of urban, planning and transport research.

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Central urbanisation work conference

The Central urbanisation work conference was held in Beijing from December 12 to 13.  The two-day meeting counted with the presence of President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and the other members of the Politburo Standing Committee Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli.

The leaders stressed the importance of promoting a human-centered urbanisation (yirenweixin – 以人为心). The meeting focused on the reforms on the hukou system, the importance of a green and low-carbon economic development, and the need for a more efficient utilisation of urban construction land.

The statement called for a realistic and practical approach to urbanisation, warning officials that urbanisation should not be the result of administrative decrees. It emphasised the need to preserve the country’s arable land.

For more information click here : http://news.xinhuanet.com/

 

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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China’s dilemma on controlling urban sprawl

Wang, Jun1 (2013). China’s dilemma on controlling urban sprawl : planning regulations, evaluation, and prospects for revision. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 22:3, pp. 915-924.

Abstract

This paper outlines a brief history of Chinese urban policies during the last half century, in particular describing the ‘State Planning Regulations’ that aim to control urban expansion. But evidence from data analysis on land occupation rates suggests the regulations did not achieve their expected outcomes. In order to reveal the problems, discussions not only about the regulations themselves but also of the contradiction between central and local authorities are interpreted. The core issue is that local authorities need to purchase more land to accommodate rapid urbanization and benefit from land releasing, while the central government is more concerned with sustainability.

Read the full article

Related

1.  Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.R. China, 201210

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Green growth in Stockholm, Sweden

OECD. (2013) Green growth in Stockholm, Sweden. Paris : OECD Publishing. (OECD Green Growth Studies) DOI: 10.1787/9789264195158-en

 This report studies green growth trends, challenges and opportunities in the City of Stockholm, Sweden. It first analyses socio-economic trends and the environmental performance of the city and the county of Stockholm; then it reviews urban policies for land use, transport, buildings, waste, energy and water that contribute to economic growth and reduce pressure on the environment; thirdly assesses Stockholm’s green innovation potential in areas such as cleantech, ICT and university to business linkages; and finally it examines local, regional and national institutions, including horizontal and vertical coordination mechanisms that strengthen cross-sectoral and multilevel govenance for green growth.

Table of contents

  • Foreword and acknowledgements
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • Economic and environmental trends in Stockholm
  • Policies to further promote green growth in Stockholm
  • Green innovation in Stockholm
  • Governance of green growth in Stockholm

Read the full text on OECD Publishing Read

Downloadable version accessible to subscribers on the OECD iLibrary or to be purchased from the OECD Online Bookshop

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Urbanization: a tool to reduce inequality?

China’s new populist urbanization

Since Li Keqiang was tipped to succeed Wen Jiabao as China’s premier, analysts have been trying to come to a better understanding of Li’s thoughts on urbanization. This is because Li has prominently identified urbanization as the growth engine of the Chinese economy and one of the main focuses on the new administration.

Li’s first press conference as premier this past weekend helped shed a bit of light on what urbanization (城镇化) might mean in terms of policy. Premier Li’s description of urbanization focused on the issue of inequality, both between poor and rich within cities and the urban and rural areas across China. The solution, according to Premier Li, is to better integrate migrant workers into cities and to spread urbanization out into the smaller cities and less developed regions of the country. This activity will generate significant new investment opportunities and raise domestic consumption levels helping to rebalance the Chinese economy.

This represents a profoundly populist spin on urbanization, which has historically been one of the primary drivers of inequality in China. Read more

Will municipal bonds save China’s urbanization plan?

Increasingly China’s new leadership has revitalized the topic of urbanization. Last November, the vice-premier, Li Keqiang, wrote an article calling urbanization a “huge engine” for future economic growth. More recently, the newly released income inequality plan has even described urbanization as a tool to reduce income inequality.

This renewed emphasis on urbanization appears to have re-opened the topic of financing local infrastructure projects. In the fourth quarter 2012 monetary policy report released earlier this month, the Peoples Bank of China (PBC) wrote an exhibit entitled “the international experience of financing construction for urbanization.” In this exhibit, the Peoples Bank observed a strong correlation between urbanization and municipal bonds across countries from the 1950s to today. They found that the use of municipal bonds backed by tax revenues was the most effective tool for supporting urbanization “no matter whether you have a federal or centralized system of government.” Read more

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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袁志刚教授谈中国城镇化问题

访问回复内容由袁志刚教授撰写

您认为城镇化是否能减低内部与东部省份间的差距? 中央政府如何减少城市间的相互竞争? 中央与地方政府如何打破在城镇化过程中对于土地的依赖?

目前中国的城市化对于改善区域的不平衡有较为积极的影响,若户籍制度和跨区域土地流转等要素市场改革能更深入推进的话,这种正面的影响将更为显著。
中国的本身的幅员辽阔,珠三角、长三角之间的禀赋也存在诸多差异,区域间直接的竞争关系不明显,竞争更多的存在于各区域的内部之间,如广州和深圳,这种竞争目前尚未有比较好的协调机制,在某种程度上造成了一些重复建设和资源错配的情况。
在中西部,部分县市存在着过度开发、超前开发的情况,短期而言,中央政府可以在资金供给和项目审批等方面进行调控;长期来说,改革现有的财税体制,扩大地方政府发债的权限,由市场来为基础建设投资指路,有助于从根本上解决这一问题。

您认为现阶段的保障房实施办法有何问题与挑战?

近期,北京、上海、广州等地所公布的保障房实施办法均表示将把非户籍人口纳入社会保障,但对于非户籍人口的申请条件往往较为苛刻,非户籍人员需要出具纳税证明、社保证明并满足工作达一定年限等准入条件。然而保障房面临更大的问题在于空间分布的不合理,最新的数据显示保障房新开工套数东中西部的比例为30:34:36,作为人口导入地的东部地区新建的保障房数量偏低。即便是针对户籍居民中的低收入人群,社会保障也还须面对信息不对称的问题,需要设计让人讲真话的机制。有时这种机制很冷酷,例如廉租房要建的很小很简陋,从而保证它落到真正需要帮助者手里。

您认为城中村的根本解决之道?

我国的“城中村”是在城市快速蔓延的过程中出现的——由于开发主体为了规避高拆迁成本而采取 “征地不征村”,造成“城市包围农村”。受城市化的增值效应带动,“城中村”中存在着活跃的农房租赁活动,低廉的租金吸引了大量贫困人群。村民的逐利意识更随之空前觉醒,对土地资源进行了掠夺性使用,对社区居住环境、卫生、治安带来极大负外部性,形成“城中村痼疾”。为贫困人口提供可负担的住房可以引流走部分城中村租客,但远不是根本解决之法。城中村问题的根源是极不稳定的土地产权关系——村民随时面临拆迁的可能,因此其行为有短期性的特点,对房屋或社区的投资严重不足。因此,根本解决之道是转变城中村土地性质和农民身份。结合城市土地利用升级的需要,城中村的“清理——重建”是一条路径,但是,城中村的推倒必须同时为其廉租屋功能寻找到替代实现之法,否则城市可能出现新的流动的贫民窟。而现阶段最重要的问题是,政府主导的廉租房体系还远未形成。

目前中国部分城市已开放申请城市户籍,但我们也可以观察到有些农民更改户籍的意愿不高,您如何看这个现象?

解放后建立起来的户籍制度的目的是固定人口、维持社会稳定,而改革开放三十年以来的城市化与市场化要求要素的流动性,因此产生了户籍制度改革的需求。但需要清楚的是,户籍制度改革是为人们提供选择权,而不是剥夺。户籍关联了本地福利和特权,所以人们的户籍落在哪里,是经过一番成本收益计算的。我们通常只看到由于城市财政压力过高而难以放开户籍制度,却忽视了农业户口也有附加值。一方面,农村集体成员权与保障挂钩,在当前土地制度下,农地承包权和宅基地使用权都有福利分配的性质;另一方面,农村集体成员权与其财产权利挂钩,一旦放弃农业户籍,就得放弃土地、房屋等财产,也得放弃获得集体经济组织分红的权利。所以很容易理解,某些农民亦不愿意放弃农村户籍。

袁志刚教授近期出版书籍包括: «城乡统筹劳动力市场建设与国家竞争力研究», «中国居民消费前沿问题研究» 等书,其他有关袁志刚教授的著作请点击此连结

 

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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从日本经验谈中国城镇化发展 (1)

本篇访谈内容由孟健军教授修正后刊出

产业发展和与环境治理是今天城市化进程中缺一不可的两个部分。无论是曾经的发达国家还是今天的发展中国家,在快速城市化的过程中,都伴随着人口增加,一方面要发展相适应的产业,另一方面则要面临日益恶化的环境治理。作为环保大国,日本在过去有着惨痛的教训和经验。

孟健军教授的研究内容为清华大学公共管理学院产业发展与环境治理研究中心(CIDEG)的重大课题,自2010年12月开题以来,在日本大地震前后的约一年半的时间里,通过大量现地调研资料,从公共政策制定的角度考察日本城市化过程中的环境政策实践过程。

日本城市环境政策实践研究主要立足于剖析过去遭受重度公害污染,而今天却成为日本乃至世界最环保城市——川崎市和北九州市的环境政策的实践历程,理解日本的环境政策制度体系的建立和机制的形成。研究目的旨在为中国政府和社会加大环境保护力度,在城市化过程中逐渐建立一整套较为完善的公共政策体系提供借鉴。

孟健军教授的研究结果之一表明,制度设计和法律体系建立是中国与日本在城镇化进程上的最大区别。同时在城市化过程中,日本各地方政府更加注重公共政策的内在机制形成。

比如:从制度设计的角度来说,在中国的城镇化过程中,由于采取城乡二元经济体制,广大农民被限制行动,禁锢在农村,形成城市居民和农民权利的不平等,也造成了城镇化发展上的阻碍。而日本面对二战以后城市大量涌入的人口,城市化过程以及城市开发一直是由政府主导来进行疏导,通过制度设计和法律体系建立来完成的。由于日本是一个人口自由迁徙的国家,人口的户籍(住民票)、福利、医疗保险等,皆随着居住地变更而有所更动。因此人口一旦有所迁徙,就需要主动向有关单位申请变更,可享受当地各种优惠,这种明确的制度设计让日本政府容易管理人口流动,也增加行政机关与居民间的协调,这样非常有利于日本的城镇化发展。

日本城市化的演进过程可以通过法律制定的变迁来进行观察。而日本的近代城市化过程可以追溯到19世纪末20世纪初。直到1946年后二战战后重建,日本才开始了真正意义上的大规模城市化。

1946年9月,日本政府为了战争后的城市重建,着手制定了《特别城市规划法》。此后,在二战期间疏散到偏远地区和农村的大批市民开始重返城市。1950年5月,为了应对日益增多的从农村涌向城市寻求就业的新移民的居住问题,日本政府废除了《城市街道建筑物法》,制定了《建筑基本法》和《国土综合开发法》,并为人口大规模流入和高度集中的东京地区,专门制定《首都建设法》来应对不断涌入的新移民。由于日本实行的是土地私有制,一方面要保护城市已经拥有土地者的利益,另一方面还要改善新移民的居住条件,1951年6月又制定了《土地征用法》,1954年5月制定了《土地区划整理法》。

日本的城市化率在1920年实施的第一次国势调查时仅为18%,此后由于经济萧条以及第二次世界大战等原因一直徘徊在20%的低水平。随着二战后的经济复兴,从1946年制定《特别城市规划法》到1954年的《土地区划整理法》,在短短八年的时间政府主导通过法律制定,1955年城市化率已经超过了50%,开始进入了真正的城市化时代。而到了1970年城市化率达到了72%,已经与当时的美国和英国的城市化率在同一水平。

而中国由于城市化过程中的立法滞后以及制度阻碍,直到2011年,也就是建国六十几年城市人口才超过50%。可见制度设计以及法律体系建立在城市化过程中,起到了决定性的作用。

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Land rolling development in Shanghai

Throughout the process of urban development in China, land development is important because the government must use land to obtain financial support and to subsequently improve urban infrastructures. In most places in China there exists a dual system of land ownership between the city and the rural areas: state-owned land and collectively-owned land. This means that land in the cities is owned by the state, and land in the rural and suburban areas is owned by collectives. Therefore, when urban development reaches a certain level, and more land is required, the government first appropriates the collectively-owned land in the rural area and converts it into state owned land to be used for urban construction. More precisely, the government appropriates the collectively-owned land in the rural area and compensates the owners before converting the land into state owned land. Subsequently, the government launches the process of primary land development, which involves investing in the land and developing it before contracting this new urban land to developers. This is commonly known as changing “raw land” into “cultivated land”.1

Primary land development includes land acquisition, land consolidation, and land reserve. Land reserve means that the ownership of land collected by the government is stored in the land reserve centre. These three processes must satisfy the requirements of the indicators for municipal underground infrastructures, as well as the requirements of urban planning, in order to carry out demolition, land levelling, and construction of public facilities in order to meet the land transfer standards. The executive bodies in primary land development are the local gov ernment, or the companies designated by the local government, such as urban investment companies and land reserve institutions. When the process of primary land development is completed, raw land is changed into cultivated land, which can be traded at the land transaction centre. The government holds auctions where developers can bid on land. Since 1994, the Tax Sharing System has been applied to local finances. Because of the Tax Sharing System, the local government cannot receive tax compensation from the central government. Therefore, the local government attempts to raise land prices through auctions to acquire higher land revenue. From the perspective of land developers, it is now possible for them to gain profits from the development of the acquired land. Likewise, the government can use the funds collected through land auctions to improve urban infrastructures.

If we look at the models of land development for the four development zones of Jinqiao, Lujiazui, Waigaoqiao, and Zhangjiang, we see that Shanghai is different from other cities in China. The Pudong New Area government, rather than the Shanghai city government, is in charge of these development zones. Because the Pudong New Area government is responsible for promoting investment and setting up infrastructures with limited financial resources, the government has designed a special model to finance and build the development zones. This land development model is called the “land rolling development model”.

First of all, the Pudong New Area government evaluates the price of rural collectively-owned land, and then pays 30% of the estimated price as the “land pre-acquisition costs” to the rural collectively-owned land owner to convert the land into state-owned land. “Land pre-acquisition costs” convert the land ownership and the land management. Then, the Shanghai Municipal Finance Bureau sets up the Development Zone Company. The fund provided to the company is equal to the estimated price of the rural collectively-owned land. When the Development Zone Company receives the fund, it purchases the development zone land from the Land Authority of Shanghai and signs the land use contract, thus acquiring the right to use the land. Next, the land ownership and the land management are transferred to the Development Zone Company. In this process, the flow of capital between the government and the Development Zone Company is counterbalanced. The land is transferred to the Development Zone Company without payment. In addition, the Development Zone Company may mortgage the land in order to receive loans to be used for the construction of the development zone. With the land loan, the Development Zone Company will need to pay only 70% of the property price to procure full ownership of the land and to develop it.2

 

The above graph plotted by Chi-Han Ai shows the difference between land development models of most cities in China and that of Shanghai. Please click to zoom in the graph.

This “land rolling development model” enables the Pudong New Area government to raise funds and complete the infrastructure of the development zone. However, this model has some underlying problems. For example, the government focuses on land and real estate development, but neglects industrial development. For the development of the industrial zone, the links between Industrial organizations are an important factor. However, the Chinese government still has room for improvement regarding industrial connections.

  1. Zhu Lingyi (2004) Fuxian zhong di difang fazhan xing guojia? Taibei nèi hu keji yuanqu yu shanghai zhangjianggao keje yuanqu de bijiao yanjiu 浮现中的地方发展型国家? 台北内湖科技园区与上海张江高科技园区的比较研究。Master thesis, National Taiwan University, Taipei. []
  2. Shanghai shi difangzhi bangongshi 上海市地方志办公室, Retrieved from http://www.shtong.gov.cn/node2/node2245/node64514/node64522/node64575/node64585/userobject1ai58313.html , last accessed 04 December 2012. []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Housing the urban poor

Based on the case study of Nanjing, this article, written by Guo Chen (Michigan State University)1, looks at the households and housing conditions of China’s urban poor. China’s housing system has greatly evolved since the late 1970’s, with the progressive transfer of housing responsibility from state subsidies to a market-oriented system.  These reforms have boosted housing development and improved housing conditions in China. But has this privatization of housing provided solutions for poverty issues in Chinese cities?

 To better understand the impact of the recent evolution in housing policies on poverty,   Guo Chen has chosen to study the housing conditions for different categories of poor households in Nanjing, according to background, housing tenure and location.

  • Guo Chen’s research, based on surveys and interviews, firstly shows that the hukou registration system still has a strong impact on housing conditions. Rural migrants are still the least privileged group among poor urban households and so live in the worst conditions.
  • Housing conditions also depend on tenure status:  Guo Chen argues that owners’ homes have better living conditions than renters’.  The latter are very dependent on the way they procured their housing:  from work units, housing bureaus or on the private market. She notes that work units remain an influential factor in housing. Thus, resettled households enjoy better and larger housing when it is provided by work units instead of private companies.
  • Another point deals with location. At the time Guo Chen was conducting her research, Nanjing was undergoing very intensive urban renewal, which led to large resettlement programmes in Nanjing’s suburbs. The author examined the condition of the housing offered to the resettled poor households. According to her surveys, resettlement housing “when made by work units and housing bureaus” offered better quality to residents than the former housing.

Poor housing in Haikou, China, Goulard Sébastien In spite of the ongoing privatization of housing, Guo Chen argues that there is a path dependence to the pre-reform system with the continuing influence of hukou and working units on housing conditions.  She also notes that those who are the most exposed to the housing reforms suffer the most from poor housing conditions.

The author pleads for a better administered system for housing provision and support, as well as greater municipal participation in relocation programmes.

Although this article was published in 2011, the research and surveys were conducted in 2004. Since then, many reforms have been carried out in China, urban development has improved and real estate prices have increased. But we can assume that the author’s conclusions are still relevant today. Issues related to rural exodus have not disappeared and rural migrants still suffer from poor housing conditions. The hukou system has not been abolished, and migrants without local hukou face more difficulties in integrating into city life. On the other hand, Chinese municipalities seem to be paying more attention to issues concerning poor housing and are heavily investing in public housing in order to reduce social discontent. However, municipal investments in public housing are, for the most part, financed by the sale of land and by taxes from private urban development programmes. City governments need to find a balance between the private housing market and a system of public housing subsidies.

This article also reminds us that poverty is not only rural, but urban. Recent research2 conducted in Europe shows that poverty is greater in large cities than in middle-size agglomerations. The problem of housing the poor has still not been resolved in Europe. Another interesting point that is highlighted in Guo Chen’s paper is the fact that poverty is not homogenous; there are several different levels of poverty and so a wide range of measures is needed to solve these issues.

  1. Chen, Guo. 2011. “Housing the urban poor in post-reform China: Some empirical evidence from the city of Nanjing”, Cities []
  2. Compas, Premières estimations du taux de pauvreté des plus grandes communes de France, étude n°2, August 2012, retrieved from http://www.compas-tis.fr/download/compas_etudes_2_aout_2012.pdf (accessed 30 November 2012) []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Urban or rural household registration?

Article written by Miguel Elosua and Ai Chi-Han

The ratio of rural to urban population is an important indicator in evaluating the degree of urbanisation in a specific place. For more than two decades, Chinese cities have developed rapidly, increasing the ratio of urbanisation . The Chinese government implements an urban household registration system to control population flow. Under this system, which is known as the hukou [戶口] system, households are divided into “agricultural” and “non-agricultural”, based on the geographical location of the householder’s official residence and on his parents’ occupation. The transfer of household registration has traditionally been tightly restricted. As a result, people cannot transfer their household registration from an agricultural household to a non-agricultural household as they wish. The system has been justified by reasons such as the danger of losing arable land or the problem of overcrowded agglomerations in city suburbs.

However, during the last few decades of rapid economic growth, an increasing number of rural residents have moved to towns to work in manufacturing and services. These workers are commonly known as “migrant workers”. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China’s “Survey Report of Migrant Workers”1 , there were more than 250 million migrant workers in 2011, accounting for nearly 20% of the total population of China.

Since migrant workers do not enjoy first-class citizen status, the question for many years has been whether rural laborers could obtain equal treatment as citizens. The landmark land reform passed by the Third Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in October 2008, aims to gradually suppress the hukou system. As a result, many provinces have already issued measures to put an end to the distinction. The reform emphasizes the role of county-level urban cities in the process of integration of rural and urban areas. To give an illustration of this key role, schools are being closed in some villages so as to force farmers to send their children to schools in nearby cities – and eventually move there as a result. Of particular interest is the case of Chongqing, one of China’s largest cities in terms of population, which established the first rural land trading centre in 2008. The idea behind this centre is to allow farmers to trade their contracted land in exchange for stock shares, which in turn will give them dividends on a yearly basis. This income should ideally be used to rent or buy a house within the city.

More recently, in February 2012, the State Council issued the “Notification to Propel the Household Registration System Reform”2.  The purpose of this reform is to facilitate transfers from agricultural to non-agricultural household registration by helping migrant workers who have acquired steady employment to attain a legitimate and lawful residence in the city and enjoy the benefits of medical and social insurances.

Within the context of these policies, the willingness – or not – of migrant workers to be registered as non-agricultural households has become the main issue for the household registration system reform in China. The exchange is not, however, all that simple anymore. Getting a non-rural hukou is no longer a zero-sum game. As the urban-rural economic gap continues to widen, Chinese rulers have shifted the focus of development to the inland, introducing a number of measures to reduce this gap. These measures include  suppressing the millenary agricultural tax, traditionally known as the imperial tax or huang liang guo shui [皇粮国税],  increasing incentives for agricultural products, as well as  introducing a subsidized social security mechanism. In addition to this, farmers living in the city suburbs have entered into the expropriation game, and are increasingly reluctant to give up their rural hukou if there is a chance that their land might be absorbed by the city in the future. Finally, the world financial crisis has proved that owning land may well be a great advantage for laid-off migrant workers from coastal cities, who can always return home to work their land.

L'agriculteur à Huangshan, Ai Chi-Han

“Flowing without shifting registration” allows a migrant worker in the district of Huangshan to live with flexibility and freedom.

In the district of Huangshan, according to the “Bulletin Statistics of Economic and Social Development of the district of Huangshan”, the agricultural household population was 101,023 in 2011, whereas the non-agriculture household population was 26,868. This means that approximately 74% of the household population still holds a rural hukou. In addition, since one of the main entrances to the Huangshan Scenic Area is located within the district of Huangshan, a large proportion of residents work in the tourism industry, and the presence of migrant workers is obviously strongly felt.

In the course of the fieldwork carried out in this district, we randomly interviewed numerous local migrant workers on the pros and cons of having a rural hukou. Our conclusion was that the majority of them had little interest in giving up their agricultural household registration. The main reason given was that no special benefits were provided for citizens, and that losing farmer status would mean losing agricultural subsidies as well. Additionally, because no corresponding and supporting measures exist between the household registration system and the land system, applying for non agricultural household registration might result in the loss of their original farmland. In Huangshan, this is another obvious drawback, since workers frequently go back home, as the distance between the work place and the home town is usually quite short. In conclusion, migrant workers living in the Huangshan district seem to prefer working in town and simultaneously keeping their agricultural household registration. “Flowing without shifting registration” allows a migrant worker to live with flexibility and freedom.

Under the current household registration system in China, shifting from agricultural to non-agricultural household registration in small tourist towns such as Huangshan might be easy, but changing from non-agricultural to agricultural household registration is nearly impossible. The rural identity is an advantage, because migrant workers can work in town when they are young and return to the farmland when they grow old. In the case of Huangshan, the migrant workers’ reluctance to change their household registration seems contrary to the Chinese government’s attempts to open up non-agricultural household registrations with new regulations.

Although the ratio of rural to urban population may be an important indicator in determining the degree of urbanization in a specific place, the migrant workers’ reluctance to change their household registration shows that a number of reform strategies must be taken to increase urbanisation in some parts of China.

  1. Zhonghua renmin gongheguo guojia tongji ju 中華人民共和國國家統計局 (National bureau of statistics of China), 2012, 2011 Nian woguo nongmin gong diaocha jiance baogao 2011年我国农民工调查监测报告, Retrieved from http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjfx/fxbg/t20120427_402801903.htm, last accessed 19 November 2012. []
  2. Zhonghua renmin gongheguo zhongyang renmin zhengfu 中華人民共和國中央人民政府 (The central people’s government of the people’s republic of China) Guowuyuan bangong ting guanyu jiji wentuo tuijin huji guanli zhidu gaige de tongzhi 国务院办公厅关于积极稳妥推进户籍管理制度改革的通知,  Retrieved from http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2012-02/23/content_2075082.htm, last accessed 19 November 2012. []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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UrbaChina scenarios workshop n°1 (Renmin university)

Last October, Olivia Bina (ICS) and Andrea Ricci (ISIS), members of the UrbaChina programme attended a workshop on urban scenarios at Renmin University in Beijing.

The main objective of this workshop was to start to design scenarios on urbanisation in China. Many interesting concepts and challenges were discussed during this meeting.

Participants studied the common perception of overall strategic societal goals (wellbeing, equity and environmental sustainability) and insisted on the need to specify ‘material’ wellbeing in the case of China.

This conference also highlighted the strategic choices made through China’s urbanisation process:

  • Urban form (density versus sprawl)
  • Self sufficiency (specialized versus diversified)
  • Economic activity (industry versus services).

A second workshop will be held in Spring 2013. Participants will design, in a realistic way, the possible scenarios for Chinese urbanisation.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Ecological protection or industrial development? Huangshan city’s challenge

Huangshan city is a famous tourist site, featuring rich forest resources and beautiful scenic valley views that attract tourists from across the world. According to the statistics of the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China1 , the total number of tourists in 2011 was 30,543,900, providing the Huangshan city government with approximately 25.102 billion RMB in revenue linked to the tourist industry. This figure is rising at an average rate of 20% per year. However, if one compares the scenic area of Huangshan to the total city area, the Huangshan scenic area represents only 12% of the whole (the total Hunagshang city area is approximately 9,807 km² and the scenic area is 1,200  km²), which means that a large area of Huangshan city is not a scenic tourist spot. In addition, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Huangshan city was ranked 15th among 16 prefecture-level cities in Anhui Province and amounted to only 10% of the GDP of Hefei city (the GDP for Huangshan city was 37,881 RMB and the GDP for Hefei city was 363,662 RMB). It is therefore clear that Huangshan city must improve its economic output through non-tourist industries.

In 2003, the Huangshan city government proposed “Advice for the Implementation of Industrial and Economic Development,” which indicated that Huangshan city should focus on the development of tourism with the support of industrial development. As a result of industrial development, eight industrial zones are now located in Huangshan city, including the Yixian County Industrial Park (黟县工业园区), the Xiuning Economic Development Zone (休宁经济开发区), and the Huizhou District Economic Park(徽州区经济园). However, the problem of how to protect natural resources and develop industry simultaneously is a challenge for the government of a tourist site such as Huangshan city.

According to the statistics provided by the Huangshan government2 , during the eleventh five-year plan (2006-2010), the total industrial value of Huangshan city increased by approximately 31.7 billion RMB, with an average growth rate of 29.3%. Most industries in Huangshan are in the sectors of electronic information, knitted garments, and the bio-medical industry, with high added value, low pollution, and low emissions. To help integrate tourism and industry, the industrial zones actively produce tourist commodities, such as travel souvenirs and travel supplies, thus complying with the demand of the tourist market. Moreover, the government strictly prohibits high-polluting industries from setting up in Huangshan. According to the Bulletin of environmental quality in Huangshan city3 the current air conditions, quality of drinking water, and noise levels in Huangshan are all satisfactory. However, compared to other prefecture-level cities in Anhui Province, Huangshan city is still at a lower level of development, and is classified as the city with the lowest industrial development in Anhui, which enables Huangshan city to maintain good quality standards for the overall environment. If we compare these results with Hefei, the city with the highest GDP in Anhui, we see that Hefei city’s air quality is judged to be slightly polluted, and the water from Chaohu Lake described as moderately polluted.

Dianchi Lake, François Gipouloux

The water of Dianchi Lake is still undrinkable.

Another example is Kunming city, which is also a city under observation by the Urbachina program. After 1970, the industrial zones and farmland areas around Kunming evacuated waste water into Dianchi Lake, resulting in a significant growth of cyanobacteria and serious eutrophication in Dianchi Lake. Although the Kunming city government has been actively trying to solve the problem of pollution in Dianchi Lake, in order to significantly improve water quality, the lake is still at a pollution level far below the level of drinkable water. Huangshan city, on the other hand, is home to Taiping Lake, which is the largest reservoir in Anhui and possesses good water quality. However, finding a way to actively promote the industrial zones while also protecting the natural ecological environment will be a challenge that the Huangshan city government and other local governments in China will need to deal with.

 

  1. Zhonghua renmin gongheguo guojia luyou ju 中华人民共和国国家旅游局 (National tourism administration of the people’s republic of china), 2012, Huangshan shi 2012 nian lizheng wancheng jiedai rujing youke 160 wan renci 黄山市2012年力争完成接待入境游客160万人次, Retrieved from http://www.cnta.gov.cn/html/2012-2/2012-2-9-14-48-89289.html , last accessed 13 November 2012. []
  2. Huangshan shi renmin zhengfu xinxi gongkai wang黄山市人民政府信息公开网, 2012, Huangshan shi “shierwu” gongye fazhan guihua黄山市“十二五”工业发展规划, Retrieved from http://zw.huangshan.gov.cn/Index/TitleView.aspx?ClassCode=0802&UnitCode=JA003&Id=113391, last accessed 13 November 2012 []
  3. Huangshan shi huanjing baohu ju黄山市环境保护局, 2012, Er ling yiyi nian huangshan shi huanjing zhi liang gongbao 二〇一一年黄山市环境质量公报, , Retrieved from http://www.hsepb.gov.cn/readnews.asp?NewsID=9009, last accessed 13 November 2012 []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Preliminary study of urban development in Kunming

Zhao long 赵龙, Li min 李敏, « Kunming chengzhen hua jianshe de chutan 昆明市全局城镇化建设的初探», 2009-2010 Kunming shi shehui kexueyuan chengguo xuanji , 2009-2010 昆明市社会科学院成果选集. Publishers: Dajia zazhi she大家杂志社, 2011.

One of the authors who collaborated in writing this article works for the Kunming authorities. In the article, the authors first mention the problems of urban development encountered in Kunming and then propose solutions that might be feasible. Finally, they indicate the objectives of urban development in Kunming, for 2015 and 2020 respectively.

Kunming city covers about 249 square kilometers, with an approximate population of 3 million and a current urbanisation rate of 61%. Several problems have occurred throughout the process of the urban development in Kunming; for example, a weak radial expansion of the dominant cities to the peripheral cities, inefficient urban planning and a lack of urban infrastructures. In addition, the existence of 366 “urban villages” has made Kunming’s urbanization process even more difficult.

 The “urban village” is a unique phenomenon that occurs during the  process of urban development in China. It is caused by a city’s rapid expansion, which causes the rural villages originally situated at the edge of the city to be surrounded by high-rise buildings. Geographically, this area belongs to the city, but the farmer’s rural household registration status cannot be transferred to an urban household status. As there is no unified urban planning and management for these urban villages, the environment is always dirty, with overcrowded housing and incomplete infrastructures. In view of all these factors, the authors of this article present the methods employed at present by the Kunming administration to improve urban development.

Poor people in Kunming, Ai Chi-Han

In the development of urbanisation in Kunming, the government is facing the challenge to improve the poor dwelling environment.

Taking into account the specific situation of each of the 1500 communities and 9600 natural villages in Kunming, the government decides whether a village is to be maintained, demolished, moved, or merged with others, in an attempt to improve the housing quality and solve the problems of urban villages. By the end of 2010, planning for 130 of the urban villages had been completed.

Regarding the problem of urban family registration, the author suggests that the government should loosen the restrictions on changes in household registration and allow the migrant farmers and students from rural households to register as urban residents. The government should also try to eliminate the difference between urban and rural household registration as soon as possible, thus allowing for a systematic transfer of the rural population to the urban.

The Kunming administration’s aim is to at attain an urbanisation rate of 70% and to bring about an improvement in the matter of urban villages and infrastructure by 2015. The urbanisation rate is expected to reach 80% by 2020, boosting the economy of Kunming and the development of adjacent cities.

 This article is avalaible on CNKI

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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