This is a great reminder of justwhat central planning is supposed to do. It gets out ahead of the curve to make sure that infrastructure is therewhen it is needed. Long after all thisis paid for, it will be producing cash for steady improvement. I watched the same process on a smaller scalehappen here in
and today we have a system that has kept car traffic down to the same levelsexperienced thirty years ago. Vancouver
These massive urban complexes arepossible because of efficient rail transport. Freeways are useful for transporting containers of goods and sometraffic but they have never been a good idea for the daily commute. Hubs allow residential concentration andeffective movement. Thus the mega cityis born.
LA would be transformed wonderfullywith such a system.
Why we pretend that such planningis not the role of government escapes me totally. We did plan the moon shot and WWIIvictory. Besides, such forward planningis well beyond the capabilities of local funding and abilities.
, it has needed the province toimpose a regional planning mechanism and the federal government to provideadditional financing support. Vancouver
City planners in south China havelaid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie aroundthe
Pearl River Delta.
The "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One" scheme will createa 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'smanufacturing heartland, stretching from to Shenzhen and including Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen,Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chineseeconomy. Guangzhou
Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects willmesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the ninecities together, at a cost of some 2 trillion yuan (£190 billion). An expressrail line will also connect the hub with nearby
"The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residentscan travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in thedifferent areas," said Ma Xiangming, the chief planner at the GuangdongRural and Urban Planning Institute and a senior consultant on the project.
However, he said no name had been chosen for the area. "It willnot be like Greater
London or Greater because there is noone city at the heart of this megalopolis," he said. "We cannot justname it after one of the existing cities." Tokyo
"It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across theregion and public services will also be distributed more fairly," headded.
Mr Ma said that residents would be able to use universal rail cards andbuy annual tickets to allow them to commute around the mega-city.
Twenty-nine rail lines, totalling 3,100 miles, will be added, cuttingrail journeys around the urban area to a maximum of one hour between differentcity centres. According to planners, phone bills could also fall by 85 per centand hospitals and schools will be improved.
"Residents will be able to choose where to get their services andwill use the internet to find out which hospital, for example, is lessbusy," said Mr Ma.
Pollution, a key problem in the
Pearl RiverDelta because of its industrialisation, will also be addressed with a unitedpolicy, and the price of petrol and electricity could also be unified.
The southern conglomeration is intended to wrestle back a competitive advantagefrom the growing urban areas around
Beijing and . Shanghai
By the end of the decade,
plans to move ever greaternumbers into its cities, creating some city zones with 50 million to 100million people and "small" city clusters of 10 million to 25 million. China
In the north, the area around
Beijingand Tianjin, two of 's most important cities, isbeing ringed with a network of high-speed railways that will create asuper-urban area known as the Bohai Economic Rim. Its population could be as highas 260 million. China
The process of merging the Bohai region has already begun with theconnection of
to Tianjing by a high speed railway that completes the 75 mile journey in lessthan half an hour, providing an axis around which to create a network of feedercities. Beijing
As the process gathers pace, total investment in urban infrastructureover the next five years is expected to hit £685 billion, according to anestimate by the British Chamber of Commerce, with an additional £300 billionspend on high speed rail and £70 billion on urban transport.