Ex-Mayor of Shanghai Discloses Main Rationale Behind Decision to Select Xiongan As New Economic Area
Yicai Global
/SOURCE : Yicai
Ex-Mayor of Shanghai Discloses Main Rationale Behind Decision to Select Xiongan As New Economic Area

(Yicai Global) June 7 -- The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development expert consulting committee, which oversees establishment of Xiongan New Area, China's recently-declared new special economic zone near capital Beijing, expects to deliver its planning project to China's government by the end of this month, said Xu Kuangdi, the head of the committee. He also revealed for the first time the reason behind the decision to select the area as the new special economic zone. Xu served as mayor of Shanghai between 1995 and 2001.

Xu was addressing an urban forum held in Beijing yesterday, the Southern Urban Daily reported. As for why Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin counties were selected as the site of Xiongan New Area, Xu disclosed that the site selection follows the traditional vertical axis way "located by mountains and rivers" in Chinese culture. Xiongan is just on the vertical axis to the south of Beijing, he said.

Xu noted the southward axis of Beijing passes through Bazhou, but Bazhou has ground fracturing, and its geological conditions are not suitable to build cities.

Another reason for the selection is the fact that total population of the three counties in question is less than average national population of one county. There are also few factories within a radius of 30 square kilometers. "It is like a blank sheet," Xu said, thus "the relocation problem in the area is small."

During the planning and construction stages of the entire Xiongan New Area, the combined pattern of the "Lake" and the "City" needs to be arranged well, he pointed out. The complex water and land conditions in the Baiyangdian Lake, the largest freshwater lake in northern China, pose a great challenge for the planning of the New Area, he stressed.

"Baiyangdian Lake has island in water, village on island, embankment in village and connected channels," noted Xu. The highland in the lake attracts populations and forms large scale villages.

Xu also disclosed that the experts reached a consensus that the basic starting point of a new area construction is coexistence and common prosperity of urban and rural area in order to jointly realize modernization. "We do not remove all villages and empty the area to build the new area. This is different from the development zone construction in eastern parts of China in the past," he said.

Xu served as mayor of Shanghai in the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s when Shanghai Pudong New Area was founded.

He said several plans have been formulated through field research and investigations conducted by a team comprising top planning institutions in China and have been submitted to the government for consideration. For this purpose, Xiongan New Area Planning Review Council has been established and more than 70 experts in the fields of geology, ecology, traffic and energy were invited to review and discuss each plan.

China's government declared Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin counties in Hebei province, which is within close proximity of capital Beijing, as the location of new national special economic zone. It is a new area of national significance akin to Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in the south and Shanghai Pudong New Area in the east. It aims to decentralize non-capital functions of Beijing, regulate and optimize urban layout and spatial structure of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, and cultivate new drive for innovative development.

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Keywords: Special Economic Zone , XIONGAN , Hubei , Beijing , Area , Planning , Selection , Vertical Axis , Xu Kuangdi