The East Asia Forum published an article on urbanisation in China. By Wang Xiaolu, published on 12 May 2014, accessed on 13 May 2014.
China is experiencing rapid urbanisation. It is the main engine of economic growth in contemporary China, although it is facing some severe challenges. A major problem is that the majority of the 234 million rural migrants in urban areas have not obtained urban permanent resident status, blocked by the hukou or urban household registration system. The newly released urbanisation blueprint by the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, National New-Type Urbanization Plan 2014-2020, announced the acceleration of the process of turning rural migrants into urban citizens.
The “Performance Assessment Report – Air Quality Management of Metropolises in China” was drawn up by Professor Song Guojun and Professor Ma Zhong. This report examines the status of air quality and its patterns of evolution (2005-2010) in 281 Chinese cities (above prefecture level).
Results show that, generally, cities seen to have good air quality accounted for 10.67% of the total; those with poor air quality accounted for 75.80%. There were 13.52% of the 281 cities that had air of extremely poor quality. Yangjiang (阳江), Huangshan (黄山) and Maoming (茂名) are examples of cities with good air quality; these cities normally have a low level of economic development. In terms of GDP these three cities are ranked 136, 159 and 144 out of the 218 cities. Cities with poor air quality include Liaoyuan, Lanzhou, Wuhan, Urumqi, Beijing, Nanjing, Xi’an, etc.
The report also included a questionnaire asking resident about their opinion of the air quality. The result shows that 46.02% of the respondents are dissatisfied with their current air quality, but there are also 71.26% of the respondents who think that air quality has improved significantly in comparison to previous years.
More details of this report can be found in the “China Environmental Economics Database”(http://www.3edata.com), where it can be consulted and downloaded.
People all over the world are migrating to cities in search of jobs and cultural advantages, especially in Asia. This has resulted in the formation of huge megapolitan areas and surrounding peri-urban environs. In China, a 40 million urban area is planned.
The effects of cities on people are not well-understood. Cities require huge amounts of energy, resulting in large quantities of waste products, causing unsustainable environments. Cities are sources of air, water and soil pollution. Light and noise pollution are now known to adversely affect urban people. The role of urban heat islands and air pollution, PM2.5 and ozone, on human health is beginning to emerge. Lack of green space may have psychological effects for urban dwellers.
We began to explore the nature of the urban environment and pollution on human health and well-being at UEP2010 in Boston in June of 2010. This very successful conference identified many areas of urban life that warranted further investigation. UEP2013 aims to continue the exploration of the urban environment and how we can begin to create a healthy and liveable environment in cities.
New information about urban environments and how they function
Pollution problems and possible solutions
Role of the built environment in alleviating heat islands
Human health problems and solutions
Role of vegetation in mitigating urban pollution and human health problems
Innovative methods for alleviation of urban stress problems
17-20 November 2013
Deadline for abstracts
31 July 2013
William Manning, University of Massachusetts, USA (Chair)
Elena Paoletti, National Research Council (IPP-CNR), Italy
Claudia Wiegand, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
Local Organising Committee
Yong-Guan Zhu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Tong Zhu, Peking University, Beijing, China (Local Chair)