Category Archives: Transports

Local accounts of high-speed rail reform in China

Speelman, Tabitha. (2015) A bullet train or a paved road? Local accounts of high-speed rail reform in China. The Newsletter, International Institute for Asian Studies, 70 (Spring 2015). URL : http://www.iias.nl/the-newsletter/article/bullet-train-or-paved-road-local-accounts-high-speed-rail-reform-china?utm_source=emailcampaign346&utm_medium=phpList&utm_content=HTMLemail&utm_campaign=%5BIIAS%5D+The+Newsletter+|+No.+70+|+Spring+2015f
The first Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) connection opened in 2007, but by the end of 2013 the country had over 12,000 km of high-speed tracks (the biggest network in the world and about half of all HSR tracks in operation worldwide). Service levels among China’s high-speed trains are high; passengers play games on their phones and consume luxury foodstuff s sold on board, as they near their destination at 300 km/h. The perfectly air-conditioned, mostly quiet HSR environment stands in stark contrast to the bustling carriages of regular Chinese trains, in which passengers chat over card games and share life stories, eating instant noodles and sunflower seeds (not for sale on HSR). Influencing traveling cultures is only one of many ways in which the construction of the world’s most advanced highspeed railroad (HSR) network is changing China, a country in which access to travel is closely tied to socio-economic development. So far, scholarly attention has been limited, but whether it is the economic impact of HSR on remote regions, emerging forms of tourism, or the nostalgia surrounding the disappearing slow trains, the approach of the HSR era in China brings with it many topics worthy of further research.

 

Monique Abud

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

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China and Europe: reconnecting across a new Silk Road

Chen, Xiangming, Julia Mardeusz. (2015) China and Europe: reconnecting across a new Silk Road. The European Financial Review, February-March, pp. 5-12. URL: http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1129&context=facpub [Retrieved 19 February 2015]
Since 2013, economic and trade relations between China and Europe have grown significantly. In this article, the authors look beyond conventional economic indicators, like trade, and political issues, like human rights, instead focusing on transport infrastructure, real estate and tourism to show that a new page is unfolding in the history of China-Europe relations.

Monique Abud

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

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NDRC’s plan to further high speed rail network in China

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has unveiled new plans to intensify railroad transportation construction, particularly in Western China.
China owns now the largest high-speed rail network in the world. This network is widely used by citizens especially these days, for New Year holidays.
But one can question the financing of such infrastructures. It has been noted that very few high speed rail lines in the world have proved to be profitable. The popular Beijing-Shanghai line has only turned profitable in 20141. But maintenance costs are still very high and can only rise as China labor costs is increasing.
During my studies, I examined the case of high speed railroad in Hainan. This province has the denser network of high speed railroads in China. I found out that this programme was very expensive for the provincial government and so the local government has increased its economic dependency toward the central authorities. They have also relied on intense real estate constructions along the network to finance these infrastructures and this has led to real estate speculation issues.
Although we cannot deny the social benefits of high speed train network, China has to make sure that these unprofitable lines would not become an economic burden.

  1. Lyu Chang (2015). ‘Beijing-Shanghai high-speed line turns profitable in 2014’. China daily, January 27. Retrieved February 22, 2015 from http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-01/27/content_19414353.htm []

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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Uxcester Garden City project

David Rudlin of URBED was the winner of the Wolfson Economics Prize 2014, announced in September 2014, with the Uxcester Garden City project:

Vision:  We illustrate how the city of Uxcester could double its size by adding three substantial urban extensions each housing around 50,000 people. These lie within a zone 10km from the city centre and are configured as triangles with only the point touching the edge of the settlement. The farmland around the city is currently not accessible to the public and of little ecological value. The concept is that for every hectare of development another will be given back to the city as accessible public space, forests, lakes country parks etc… Each of these satellite extensions would be served by a tram or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) running from the existing mainline station on disused lines and then switching to on-street running to loop through the new neighbourhoods. The housing would be developed incrementally to create space for small developers and self-builders alongside the volume housebuilders in a process that recreates the way that the great estates were built in London.   

Popularity: Extending an existing city solves some problems but creates others. The greatest of these will be the task of winning over the existing community, which is likely to be articulate and honed by years of experience resisting development. We suggest a ‘Social Contract’ that would address the concerns of this community. Rather than a future spent fighting years of ill-planned development, the Garden City would offer the prospect of a clear 40 year vision that accommodates development while minimising its impact. The satellite extensions are planned to minimise their visual impact, to create a green grid of accessible open space and to generate investment in new transport infrastructure and city centre facilities to benefit the whole of the community. The aim is to re-frame the argument by getting cities to bid to be designated as a Garden City as they currently bid for City of Culture. 

Economic Viability and Governance:  In the absence of large scale subsidy the only solution to the economics of the Garden City is what Ebenezer Howard called the ‘unearned increment’. We are proposing a deal for landowners in which they trade a small chance of securing a housing consent on their land, for a guarantee of receiving existing use value plus substantial compensation and a financial stake in the Garden City Trust. We have assumed that the land will be brought at an average cost of £350,000 per hectare, 20 times its current agricultural value but only 15% of its value as housing land. The economics of the scheme are based on these differentials. We have assumed that, by extending an existing town rather than building from scratch we can reduce the infrastructure bill from £80,000 to £60,000 per unit. Even assuming that half of the land acquired is used as open space, this still generates sufficient value to fund this level of infrastructure spending. By selling the sites to developers at a fixed price and providing the infrastructure collectively, a market incentive will be created to invest in the quality of the housing.   

The process would be managed by the Garden City Trust that would be owned jointly by the local councils, central government, the local community and land owners – and their stakes would have a tradable capital value. The Garden City Trust would be vested with the land, would commission masterplanning work and then use the equity of the land to raise a Bond to fund the initial investment in infrastructure. Development would take place on a rolling programme with the early land receipts being reinvested. The experience in Holland suggests that such a rolling programme can procure infrastructure investment three times greater that the value of the initial bond.    

We describe the seven ages of the Garden City Trust from its conception and birth through its infancy and adolescence to maturity, middle age and eventually retirement. Over time the role of the trust will evolve as it moves from the development stage to the management phase where it will be structured to enable the local community to take on the stewardship of their neighbourhoods. Rising values over the life of the project will allow initial investments to be repaid. This is not a new model, it is the modern day equivalent of the great estates like Grosvenor or The Bournville Village Trust. 

Our model addresses the weaknesses in the system that have made it so difficult to match the quality of the schemes we admire on the continent. We have debated as a team whether we are being too ambitious with the size of the settlement we are proposing. However nationally we need to increase housing production by the equivalent of one Milton Keynes every year. We therefore need bold strokes to radically increase the rate at which we are building and Uxcester provides a model to do just this. 

For more information on URBED and the submission, click here: http://www.urbed.coop/wolfson-economic-prize

Miguel Elosua

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

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No more begging in Beijing’s subway

Last month, Beijing’s municipality has decided to ban begging in the subway. This regulation will come into effect in May 2015.

Beijing subway beggars face fine of up to 1,000 yuan (2014). China Daily November, 28). Retrieved December 14 from  http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-11/28/content_18995305.htm.

The regulation ruled out 17 dangerous acts that would undermine subway security, including entering the rail or the tunnel, and placing or abandoning barriers along the rail line.

In a subway station or train, people will not be allowed to beg, perform for money or dispense advertising pamphlets. The regulation also disallowed walking in the opposite direction of a moving escalator, running for fun, skateboarding, roller-skating or cycling.

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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A training on quantifying emissions of urban transport in Chengdu

HBEFA China Banner2

On 20 November 2014, GIZ and the China Sustainable Urban Transport Research Centre (CUSTReC) conducted a training on quantifying emissions of urban transport in Chengdu.

Chengdu is one of three pilot cities in the Large City Congestion and Carbon Reduction project financed through the Global Environment Fund and managed by the World Bank. One of the activities of the Project Management Office of the GEF in Chengdu is to monitor the development of their transport emissions. GIZ cooperates with CUSTReC and the World Bank to support the quantification of transport emissions, using the China Road Transport Emission Model (HBEFA China).

Read the full text on Sustainable Transport in China

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Role of users in the developing eco-innovation

Nathalie Lazaric, Jun Jin, Ali Douai, Cecile Ayerbe (2014). Role of users in the developing
eco-innovation:  comparative case research in China and France. Economies et societes,
developpement, croissance et progrès – Presses de l’ISMEA – Paris, Serie Dynamique
technologique et Organisation (N 3), pp.455-476.
This article proposes a model of eco-innovation that emphasizes the role of users and regulation in the development and diffusion of eco-innovationproducts, by comparing the diffusion of two e-bike companies, CEP and Lvyan, from China and France.
These cases show that diffusion of eco-innovation in China and France is strongly linked to the institutional context and specific consumer needs, highlighting the importance of involving users in the development and diffusion of eco-innovation in order to satisfy market demand, and increase profit and competitiveness in niche markets. It also shows that, to achieve a comprehensive picture, institutions and policy makers should adopt a coevolutionary approach to regulation that includes consideration of technology, uses and practices.
The case of CEP reveals that regulation appropriate to the market fosterscompanies‟eco-innovation;compared to the case of Lvyan which shows that irrelevant regulation can become a barrier to the diffusion of eco-innovations such as the e-bikes.
The superior„ snob effects‟ of the French market are discussed and compared with the„ bandwagons effects‟ noted in the Chinese market.

 Full text on the French multi-discciplinary open access archive HAL

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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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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Back in the saddle !

Last week end, were held the Beijing International Cycle Expo and the 3rd Beijing Cycling Festival.

Riding a bike seems trendy again in China.

Visit the expo’s website here.

 

 

 

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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Of cable cars…

Once upon a time, the main method of crossing the Yangtze and Jialing rivers was the cable cars, or ropeways, swinging high over the city from one hilltop to the other. Until 1960, there were no bridges crossing the Yangtze River around Chongqing.

長江索道-yeung

Photo by Yeung Ming (2014). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

The picture above shows the remaining ropeway which crosses the Yangtze River, starting from the Yuzhong peninsula. It is still in use as transport, but mostly serves as a tourist attraction. In the top left corner, we can see the latest bridge of many which ousted the ropeways: the Dongshuimen Bridge. The Jialing cable cars (pictured below) ceased operating in December 2013, as they slowly fell out of use because of increasing alternative and easier routes, such as tunnels and, of course, bridges.

Tomorrow’s post will showcase some photos of the latest bridges being built in Chongqing.

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l’UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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The race for expansion – Cerdá Year

Captura de pantalla 2014-08-08 a las 03.08.28

Exactly 150 years ago, on the 7th of June 1859, the Plan for Reform and Development of Barcelona was approved. This was the work of Ildefonso Cerdá. The Plan is considered to be a pioneer in the development of modern urbanism. What continues to surprise today is Cerdá’s capacity to predict the protagonistic role which public transport would play in the city.

For more information on the Cerdá Year, please click here: http://www.anycerda.org/eng/

 

Miguel Elosua

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

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City scale models and their implications

Maqueta

This photo was taken during UrbaChina’s 4th International Conference, which was held in Chongqing from 28 to 30 May. Attendees paid a visit to the Chongqing Planning Exhibition Gallery. This giant scale model of the city of Chongqing, displays all existing and planned buildings up to 2020. After seeing the scale model and listening to the optimistic presentation, one of the attendees made a very sharp remark observing that such a scale model would be unimaginable in his country, France in this case. He was not talking about the technical difficulty of producing such a model, but to the number of legal questions that would make it virtually impossible to predict the future development of a city in such detail. This scale model not only includes new public spaces that require an expropriation procedure, but also new private developments, condominiums, office buildings, shopping malls, in locations where nowadays probably include only private properties (and collective land). In China, it means that the city agreed many years in advance to expropriate the area of land necessary to carry out this transformation. It means that the local government considers any activity related to urbanisation as able to answer the general interest. It also presupposes that the local government will manage to find the financial resources to undertake the gigantic construction work. Finally, had this been the scale model of a European city, it would also assume that nobody would oppose the urban plan, which is not unusual. Besides, the Courts sometimes decide in favour of the opponents, compelling city planners to modify the plan.

 

Miguel Elosua

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

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Commuting tools and residential location of suburbanization: evidence from Beijing

Yao, Yonglin and Wang Shuai (2014). Commuting tools and residential location of uburbanization: evidence from Beijing. Urban, Planning and Transport Research: An Open Access Journal, 1 (2), 274-288.  Retrieved 4 July, 2014, from  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21650020.2014.920697

Since the 1990s, the population of Beijing has decentralized. This paper studies the relationship between residents’ commuting tools and their residential location during suburbanization by applying field survey data, statistical methods, and Geographic Information System techniques. The results show that public transportation is the most common choice for commuting. Residents commute the shortest distance do so by walking/bicycling and residents commute the longest distance do so by taking bus/subway. The likelihood of using bus/subway increases as the distance becomes longer; the likelihood of commuting by car/taxi has a very weak correlation with commuting distance. The results imply a public transportation-oriented suburbanization model in Beijing. By further mapping the subway lines and the geographic distribution of newly built houses from 2008 to 2012, it is discovered that public transit especially the subway plays a significant role in residential relocation in Beijing. This could explain the city sprawl in suburbanization in China.

 

Monique Abud

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

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Making China’s urban transportation boom sustainable

Zhao, Zhirong Jerry (2014). Making China’surban transportation boom sustainable.  (Paulson Policy Memorenda). Chicago, IL : The Paulson Institute.

China’s economic takeoff of recent decades has been accompanied by the dazzling growth of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. China’s total highway mileage had reached a staggering 4.2 million kilometers (km)  (2.6 million miles) by 2012, expanding from just 126,675 km (78,712 miles) in 1949. Railroads in operation increased from 22,900 km (14,229 miles) in 1952 to 98,000 km (60,894 miles) in 2012, including more than 9,360 km (5,816 miles) of high-speed rail (HSR) that moves sleek passenger trains between China’s major urban centers at speeds that clock in at over 200km (124 miles)/h.

In China’s current subway boom, meanwhile, not only are megacities like Beijing and Shanghai actively adding new lines and extensions (see Figure 1) but smaller Chinese cities are also racing to open their first subway lines. 

Monique Abud

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

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Bringing sustainable infrastructure to urban areas

Grangé, Jérémy and Petitet, Sylvain (2014). For cities of a different nature : bringing sustainable infrastructure to urban areas. Translated by Oliver Waine. Metropolitics, 26 March 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014 from: http://www.metropolitiques.eu/For-cities-of-a-different-nature.html

City-dwellers want to see more of their metropolitan areas turned over to nature and urban public spaces; however, our cities today are still structured by a network of roads that were primarily built to manage motor traffic flows. Sylvain Petitet and Jérémy Grangé show how implementing sustainable urban infrastructure could provide city-dwellers with easy and convenient access to the places that generate most of their journeys, revealing a new form of network-based public space.

 

 

Monique Abud

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

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