We all have heard, in recent years, about the fast growth of the Chinese economy which took it to the second place in the rankings, behind the United States, of the world’s strongest economies. Some experts even arguing it occupies already the first position. But this accelerated growth means also fast repercussions and challenges not only for the economy of the Asian superpower, but also for its environment and the quality of life of its population.
Cities like Beijing, the capital, have reached their maximum when it comes to traffic and population absorption and pollution levels acceptance. At the same time, world’s economy is also rapidly changing and the system based in manufacturing exports and capital investment is becoming unstable. That is why new structural models to foster cities and regions cooperation need to be implemented. Models that should help alleviate pressure in big metropolis, in terms of circulation and environment.
For this reason, the Chinese government has approved a new development plan which consists in connecting the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province by means of a new belt. The already called “7th Beijing belt” will merge a territory into sort of a megacity with a population of around 130 million people by means of what in fact will be two roads. The first, of 940km, will go by Hebei, through Langfang, Baoding, Zhuozhou, Chengde and Pinggu. The second road is meant to be 1250km long and go through Hebei to, as well as Langfang, Baoding, Zhangjiakou, Chengde and Tangshan.
The plan forecasts that all transport lines, which include the belt, trains and subway, which need to be built to connect the cities to the province, will be finished before 2020, and some estimations forecast that the belt could open as soon as 2015.
While economists celebrate this new governmental plan which should boost the area’s economy, situating it at the same level of the prosperous Perl River Delta area, some environmentalists doubt about the belt’s efficiency to reduce pollution levels, and they even believe it could aggravate it. In fact, Beijing’s fourth and fifth belts were supposed to improve traffic in the capital, but instead they had the contrary effect, making traffic worse.
We shall see if the new pharaonic plan from the government will have or not more positives than negatives, but in any case it shows that the Asian superpower is striving to extend its high growth and establish its economy as the strongest in the world.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei megalopolis intended as showcase for economic reform
ECNC (China News Service) : 940-Km highway around Beijing to lift economy
CHINA DAILY: Beijing to Build Seventh Ring Road
THE NANFANG INSIDER: New Megacity To Include Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei with Population of 130 Million