January 23 2014

Shanghai’s New Districts Fall Short of Attracting Residents

On December 27,2013, the Shanghai 14th Municipal Commission passed the Shanghai Underground Space Planning Regulations, which will be implemented from April 1, 2014. The Regulations signal Shanghai’s intention to carry out new planning initiatives.

In recent years, Shanghai has positioned itself to be an international financial center, and its various new districts have been building iconic buildings and developing new industries.

Shanghai new district

However, the discrepancies between plans and reality are obvious. Take Lingang New City for example. The district plan projects the population to be 800,000 by 2020, but some media describe the Lingang New City as “an empty town” due to its current low population density. The district has been developing its industries and trying to attract people for ten years, but based on the current pace, its goal seems to be impractical.

Shanghai New District

Nanxiang District is another example of a new town development that falls short of reaching its goals. The district was projected to increase its population from 180,000 to 300,000 by 2015. However, the district is losing its migrant workers due to increasing housing prices. As the industries are switching to high-end manufacturing and services, many factories have been shut down. In addition, due to the local government’s effort to upgrade the infrastructure, a lot of old houses with cheap rents were demolished. Many low-skill migrant workers lost their jobs and could not find affordable places to live, so many of them have moved back to their hometown.

What do you think the Shanghai municipal government should do in order to reach their development goals for new districts? 

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

The original article, published in Chinese, can be found here.

Jue Wang

Jue Wang is a Master of Urban Planning student at the University of Southern California (USC) with a concentration in sustainable land use planning. Born in a small town along the Yellow River and having grown up in the Pearl River Delta in southeastern China, she experienced the rapid transformation of rural and urban China in the past two decades. Inspired by the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, she decided to translate her passions towards the betterment of the natural and built environment to a career in urban planning. Being an Angeleno for five years, she has claimed Los Angeles as her second home. Through her work as a translator and content coordinator, Jue hopes to help more people learn about China's planning and environmental design issues.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 4:31 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Housing, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Shanghai’s New Districts Fall Short of Attracting Residents”

  1. Libby Rodriguez Says:

    They should try an experiment with at least one of those towers. Let them be totally free of zoning for anything except land uses that could be fire hazards…so all kind of small scale retail, whole sale, assembly, little restaurants, and of course residential. Let people modify the units. For example…they can cut holes in the wall by the front door for a small walk-up retail window etc. Make sure common areas stay clean and well-maintained – pay residents to do that.

    Advertise the spaces at universities etc etc as perfect location for a small start up business or art studio. I bet the people will create something great. The businesses that do well can expand into your manufacturing centers. Also…stop demolishing things. Soon you will have no history. :(. That is psychologically bad for people.

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