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Shanghai teams up on plans with its neighbors

Zhou Wenting
Updated: Nov 30,2018 9:09 AM     China Daily

Shanghai is teaming up with seven neighboring cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces for collaborative planning in one of the latest efforts to further push forward the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region.

The planning will focus on transportation, ecological protection and improvement, municipal infrastructure, the internet network, tourism and coordinated industrial development, a senior official of the Shanghai Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Administration said during the National Planning Conference 2018 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, from Nov 24 to 26.

Planning authorities in Shanghai and the other seven cities — Suzhou, Wuxi, Nantong, Jiaxing, Ningbo, Zhoushan and Huzhou — will work together to optimize the use of space in each city and construct a coordinated pattern at the regional level, said Xiong Jian, head of the master plan division of the Shanghai administration.

“The particular importance of collaborative planning is that it will serve as a guide for each city’s master plan to ensure interconnection between cities in the region in terms of city function, transportation, environment and facilities so as to enhance regional spatial synergy and integrated development,” she said.

Xiong said that Shanghai has explored cross-city coordinated planning in the past years.

“For example, the municipality’s master plan (2017-35) mentioned that Shanghai should give full play to its role as a core city from the perspective of the coordinated development of the delta region, strengthen the division of missions and collaboration with neighboring cities and build a metropolitan region into a world-class urban agglomeration with global influence,” she said.

Experts believe that such collaborative planning is a substantial step forward for the region’s integrated development, which has been elevated to the level of a national strategy.

The delta region, which accounts for 3.8 percent of China’s total land area, contributes more than 20 percent of China’s GDP and houses 10 percent of its population, according to official statistics.

“It’s wise to start with cities adjacent to Shanghai, as it can be hard to have coordinated planning across all 26 cities in the delta region’s urban agglomeration plan,” said Li Jian, a researcher at the Institute of Urban and Demography Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Such collaboration, though primarily focused on hardware for now, will provide a future basis for social welfare sharing, Li said.