China Is Building a City 3X Bigger Than New York: Housing and Urban Policy

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A few years ago I told a group of friends in Germany that I had been in more European cities than American.  In fact, in 2015 at the age of 34 I had never visited New York City.  A few months later, I finally made my way into the Big Apple and was amazed by the sheer size and scale of it.  Cities are amazing enivornments that live and breathe.  Sometimes it takes an aerial view to see how beautiful, ugly, seductive and amazing cities are.  There are veins, hearts, brains and souls.  I adored the way New York had come together over hundreds of years to form up into a major metropolis that encompassed so many different ecosystems.   That is why I was shocked to hear that China is planning on developing a city 3x the size of New York.

Big Plans, Less Smog?

China announced last year that they were going to build a major city across three counties.  As brought out in an article by the Business Insider, China is well known for investing billions of dollars into new highways, trains, public buildings and parks.  The idea is to create a city that will allow residents the ability to live within it and dampen the need to drive and produce as much smog that already clogs up the air.

It is interesting to see the drive towards more urban environments in China.  The reality of living in smog and traffic drive many out of the city across the world.  It will also be interesting to see if China can become a leader or influencer of urban development strategy.  The Chinese have a unique way of making things happen.  Sometimes it can be extremely brutal as demonstrated by village destruction during the Olympics.   If they decide to build dense, public transit friendly urban megalopolises, it could be a forum in urban development that we should all pay attention to.

Urban Development and Chaos:

A follow up article in the Economist brought out that development in China often brings its own unique challenges.

In China bedlam often ensues in the rush to build. There has already been a taste of this in Xiongan. Within hours of the announcement about the new city, speculators were flocking to the area’s existing property developments to buy up whatever was available. Highways leading to it were clogged with cars. Its housing prices tripled. To rein in the exuberance, the government ordered a halt to all property transactions in the new area.

Housing:

It will be interesting to see how China develops the housing market in this area.  Affordable and social housing are in need all throughout the country.  However; the market for high end real estate in China is also booming.  Building a massive new city offers the opportunity to bring in affordable housing that meets the needs of millions of different citizens.  How the housing policy drives this new city will tell us what is in the minds of the Chinese government.

Conclusion:

What do you think about this new city in China?  What are the pluses and minuses of developing such a large place in a shorter period of time?  Email us at info@housing-futures.org

Quoted Articles:

http://www.businessinsider.com/china-building-a-brand-new-city-2017-4

https://www.economist.com/news/china/21720318-will-xi-jinpings-dream-come-true-plan-build-city-scratch-will-dwarf-new-york

 

 

 

Author: jcrites

Josh Crites is an American social housing professional with both practical and research experience. He has worked at 3 social housing companies in the USA in roles ranging from policy and operations to process improvement and strategy. Josh is a former Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellow. During that fellowship, Josh researched and worked with social housing companies in Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, England, Estonia and Spain. He is an avid writer and advocate for the provision of social housing around the world.

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