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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