Chongqing: urbanization ratio to 70% by 2020

As the world's most populated city, Chongqing with its over 30 million inhabitants is undergoing the most rapid urbanization: the city aims to raise its current 50% urbanization ratio to 70% by 2020.

In the 11th FYP, Chongqing's leaders aimed to bring down the urban-rural income disparity through aggressive urbanization, aiming at an urbanization rate by 70% in 2020 (11th FYP, 2006). Calculating that the Chongqing’s population is more than 30million, this means to achieve the 2020 target, Chongqing’s villagers must move into urban areas at a rate of more than 500,000 a year, which means to create 2 Bordeaux each year.

In the landscape of various Chinese cities, Chongqing is in its early phrase of transforming from an industrial city to a modern city, where the per capita GDP is lower than the national average and the development priority is placed on economic development through increasing the share of service sector in downtown and rationalizing industrial spatial distribution.
The municipality covers an area with the equivalent size of Scotland. Chongqing has a classic core–periphery structure, the predominantly urban core (urban rate of 61%) which accounts for 60% of the municipality's resident population, whilst the two wings (northeast and southeast) represent the rural periphery (urban rates of 31% and 23% for the northeast and southeast wings, respectively). Economic activities is concentrated within the urban core area, and the GDP per capita in the core area is19,144 yuan, in contrast with 8,030 yuan in the northeast wing and 7,907 yuan in the southeast wing.

Since 1990, Chongqing has been helped by massive central-government support under the flag of “great western development”. In the past decade, 80% of the municipality's growth has come from investment (half financed by state-owned banks and the government), and the municipal leaders aims to halve investment's contribution to growth and triple that of consumption and exports. As a result, over the last decade, the area has embraced rapid economic growth with annual real GDP per capita growth of 15.98% between 1997 and 2006, accompanied by a rapid urbanization with the urban rate increasing from 35.6% in 2000 to 48.3% in 2007.

In the summer of 2007, Chongqing announced its adaptation of the “One-hour Drive Circle and Two Wings” spatial development strategy, at the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Chongqing's establishment as a centrally administered municipality. This strategy seeks to shape urbanization and economic physical distribution, to realize the efficiency of agglomerated economy and natural conservation in its ecological vulnerable areas. The strategy will involve considerable relocations of population from the wings to the circle.

The “one-hour drive circle area” corresponds approximately to a 50-60 km radius circle from the centre of Chongqing's central city, including the nine urban districts of Chongqing's central city plus 14 surrounding county-level divisions. The “one-hour drive circle” is to be the hub of service and industrial activities, with the former to be located principally in the nine central urban districts, and the latter to concentrate in the rest of the circle through relocating to certain industrial and technology parks. It is expected that by the one-hour drive circle will eventually host 22 million inhabitants with 9 million in nine central urban districts.

The northeast wing where today 9 million people inhabit is envisaged to adopt more productive rural activities, like large-scale agriculture, agro-industry, and aquaculture and the southeast wing where today 3 million people inhabit is to develop more tourism based on its natural and cultural-ethnical assets.

The urbanization goal set by Chongqing leadership that to bring urbanization rate from the current around 50% to 70% by 2020, which means expanding urban area to accommodate half a million newly added urban inhabitants annually till 2020, posts grave pressures to the local finance, infrastructural provision, and ecological supporting capacity, as for a economically middle-low and ecologically vulnerable city like Chongqing,. Through Chongqing framed “one-hour driving circle and two wings” spatial strategy to complement this demographical policy, important policy and institutional coordination plan remains absent.


  • Chongqing_Xuan.doc A brief overview to the governance aspects of Chongqing, with focus on the most recent rapid urbanization decision (DOC / 589.00 KB)

Posted by fiona liu / 11.8 years ago / 8504 hits