Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Export Western Planners to China?

Hobbling the Competition: Export Western Planners to China?

A cadre of Western urban planners has descended on China offering advice. Chinese officials are admonished "not to repeat our mistakes." The mistakes, they explain are urban sprawl (a pejorative term for suburbanization) and automobile use. Chinese officials who visit the West must marvel as for the mistakes at the myopia of our planners after witnessing the high standard of living, which is something they would like to replicate. For good reason, they are largely ignoring the bankrupt advice they are receiving from the Western planners.

INTRODUCTION

China is experiencing unprecedented economic growth. Over the past two decades, living standards have risen seven fold. Gross domestic product per capita still remains below high-income world standards, at one-sixth that of the US level. Nonetheless, there is great regional disparity, with incomes in east coast urban areas up to three times that of urban areas in the central and western regions.

Like many developing nations, China remains more rural than urban. According to United Nations data, China's population was only 40 percent urban in 2000. This compares to urban rates of over 70 percent in many high-income nations. People are moving in large numbers from rural areas to the urban areas, following the pattern of development that has occurred virtually wherever incomes have risen markedly. Opportunities are much greater in the large and expanding urban labor markets, and the standard of living is better in urban areas than in rural areas. The United Nations estimates that by 2030, 60 percent of the Chinese population will live in urban areas. This represents a staggering migration --- the movement of 340,000,000 people --- a population greater than that of the United States and Canada.

Already, China has very large urban areas. Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing have 10,000,000 or more residents. A number of other urban areas have approximately 5,000,000 people, such as Guangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Shenyang and Dongguan. There are more than 25 additional urban areas with populations above 1,000,000 See Demographia World Urban Areas.

The Western Planners

Not surprisingly, a cadre of Western urban planners has descended on China offering advice. Chinese officials are admonished "not to repeat our mistakes." The mistakes, they explain are urban sprawl (a pejorative term for suburbanization) and automobile use.

The Reality of the West

And, as for the mistakes of the West, Chinese officials who visit the United States, Western Europe, Canada or Australia must wonder at the disconnect between the wasteland described by Western planners and the unparalleled quality of life enjoyed by people in the West.

It is not a mistake that the automobile has created mobile urban areas in which employers and employees have far greater choices and labor markets are more efficient. It is not a mistake that housing built on inexpensive land on the periphery of urban areas has made it possible for so many millions to build up financial equity in their own homes. Nor is it a mistake that nearbly inexpensive land has been developed by retailers and other businesses who are, as a result, able to provide lower prices than would otherwise be possible.

The West has achieved its unparalleled affluence because it was largely able to accomplish all of this before the planners were in a position to impose their wills that would have prevented suburbanization and the expansion of mobility. The planners would have imposed greenbelts and urban growth boundaries, making it impossible for low cost housing to be developed. Western nations would now be principally inhabited by renters rather than homeowners. Employees would be limited to those few places they could get on foot or public transport, rather than the whole urban area that the automobile has opened up. There would be less wealth and it would be less broadly distributed. The planners would not have allowed the "big-box" stores on the urban fringe, and as a result people would have had to pay higher prices with their smaller incomes.

Indeed, for any who might wish for China to stumble in its competition with the West, it is hard to imagine a more promising strategy than to export Western planning ideas, if not the planners themselves, to China. China would do well to ignore the Western planners, whose advice would retard the growth of the economy and spread of wealth. To China's credit, the "fools gold" of Western urban planning principles is largely being ignored.

ENDS

www.demographia.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels