Thursday, November 18, 2010

2015 - Chinese Cities, Metrics

One of the biggest factor's shaping China's landscape in the next dozen or so years will be the path that its second-tier cities take on development. (Second/third tier basically refers to any city of about 170 in China that have populations of over 1 million, but are not Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen or Guangzhou)...and a huge chunk of the money has flown into the architectural, urban, and economic development of cities like Chongqing (which on its own, had a GDP of $95.5 billion in 2009), Dalian and Wuhan.

Two pieces of recent news were therefore quite fun and heartening.  First, via Danwei, Chongqing is shooting to be one of the "happiest cities" in China by 2015.
"According to a new blueprint released at a government conference yesterday, in 2015, Chongqing's GDP per capita will reach USD 8,000, twice as much as current level; the city's regional GDP will by then reach 1500 billion yuan, surpassing Shanghai's current level; the income gap between urban and rural residents will be shrunk to 2.5:1. These projections, once achieved, will make Chongqing "one of the happiest regions" in China. Or at least the Chongqing government officials would like you to believe so."
The use of per capita GDP (instead of aggregate growth numbers) and reducing the urban-rural inequality gap is using metrics that do come much closer to more holistic indicators of well being. (Sidenote: China experimented with a "Green GDP" index in 2006 but abandoned it when it indicated a 3% drop in productivity.)

NEVERTHELESS, the second piece of fun news is that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC, not NRDC) has picked five provinces and eight cities as the first hubs for "greening" - by 2015 each will be used as pilots for significantly reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. (They'll be Guangdong, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi and Yunnan, and Tianjin, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guiyang, Nanchang and Baoding.) [via CommidityOnline]

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