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China News

China's Shanghai Sets Population at 25 Million To Avoid 'Big City Disease' (theguardian.com) 83

An anonymous reader shares a report: China's financial hub of Shanghai will limit its population to 25 million people by 2035 as part of a quest to manage "big city disease," authorities have said. The State Council said on its website late on Monday the goal to control the size of the city was part of Shanghai's masterplan for 2017-2035, which the government body had approved. "By 2035, the resident population in Shanghai will be controlled at around 25 million and the total amount of land made available for construction will not exceed 3,200 square kilometres," it said. State media has defined "big city disease" as arising when a megacity becomes plagued with environmental pollution, traffic congestion and a shortage of public services, including education and medical care. But some experts doubt the feasibility of the plans, with one researcher at a Chinese government thinktank describing the scheme as "unpractical and against the social development trend."
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China's Shanghai Sets Population at 25 Million To Avoid 'Big City Disease'

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  • If 25 Million isn't a big city.... What the heck is? Seriously though, why 25 Million? Is it just because they have already burned past 20 million and are all, "Well, guess we can't kick people out now, so let's just call it at 25"? What "Big City diseases" can they avoid at 25 million that aren't happening at 30? And further, is this just Shanghi proper, or is this going to limit the Shanghi region which is already pushing 35 million people.
    • You are arguing a metaphor - not that which it describes.

      I.e. "environmental pollution, traffic congestion and a shortage of public services, including education and medical care."

      Which is something they predict they can still handle at 25 mil, but doubt that they will be able to at 30 mil.
      And 25 mil is probably just another metaphor for "no bigger than right now" - as according to TFA "Shanghai had a permanent population of 24.15 million at the end of 2015, the official Xinhua news agency said last year."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations, maybe sweeten the pot with some cash. You will start to see results within the year.

    • If 25 Million isn't a big city.... What the heck is? Seriously though, why 25 Million? Is it just because they have already burned past 20 million and are all, "Well, guess we can't kick people out now, so let's just call it at 25"? What "Big City diseases" can they avoid at 25 million that aren't happening at 30? And further, is this just Shanghi proper, or is this going to limit the Shanghi region which is already pushing 35 million people.

      Tokyo is at 33 million and projected to reach 37 million by 2030. If you count the greater Tokyo area they are already coming up on 40 million meaning that they'll probably top 50 million by 2030.

      • "Tokyo is at 33 million and projected to reach 37 million by 2030."

        And they are all very sick, I guess.
        At least according to the Chinese.
        Or they just gave better public servants organizing everything.

        And remember they don't even have zip-codes, nor house numbers.

        • Tokyo is vast, but its average population density is comparable to Los Angeles (i.e., nothing to sneeze at, but hardly Mumbai or Lagos). Out beyond the urban core, Tokyo is a seemingly-endless sprawling ocean of single-family homes with islands of greater density where a village center used to be before Tokyo swallowed it whole & kept growing.

      • List of cities proper by population [wikipedia.org]. Tokyo's entire metropolitan area is 30+ million, but inside the city limits? It's at 13 million. Inside Shanghai's city limits it is "officially" at 24.3 million, but in fact is well over 25 million. And if you go by the greater Shanghai metropolitan area (which would include areas like Anting, Kunshan, etc), it's around 40 million people (was over 35 million back in 2010). Tokyo has a LOT of density, but Shanghai has more people... That is also why it has the long
    • This is almost certainly referring to "inside the ring road", meaning within the actual city limits. Provincial Shanghai is not only growing, but is expanding its metro system to nearby cities, and has been looking to officially annex one or two of the nicer nearby cities.

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @09:19AM (#55808677)
    So all that will happen is there will be another city right across the street, which is managed separately. This already exists to a point in the way the separate districts are managed. But it is unclear why they think this would reverse the overall social and economic trends which are pushing growth in Shanghai.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @09:49AM (#55808803)

    Let's face it. Those who think China can replace the USA as the next superpower don't realize China has two issues they have to deal with:

    1. Feeding, clothing and sheltering around 1.7 billion people--around 20% of Earth's human population.
    2. A massive air and water pollution problem that is already affecting the health of many Chinese.

    It's these issues that could result in health issues so gigantic that it could bankrupt that country within 20-25 years. This article is symptomatic of what will soon happen to China down the road.

    • and when the factory's move to africa with it's lower min wage and lesser pollution laws??

    • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @10:35AM (#55809061) Journal

      1. Feeding, clothing and sheltering around 1.7 billion people

      Luckily, China has 1.7 billion people that can take care of that issue pretty well.

      • They'll try, but given the persistent PM2.5 air pollution problem that still plagues many Chinese cities even as I type this (China will essentially have to either adopt US-style air pollution controls on its innumerable coal-fired power plants and/or switch to natural gas as primary fuel for electric power generation to drastically reduce this problem), that's not going to be easy to solve. And that's on top of water pollution from industrial wastes, too.

        • Maybe. Or maybe the air pollution will lead to people dying young and less social services for the elderly. That's not a nice outcome and not something I would want, but the pollution may actually have some interesting side effects. The young still seem to be able to work.
    • The pollution problem can be 80-99% solved with 25 years of sensible regulation. People forget that 50 years ago, cities like Pittsburgh & Cleveland were polluted as badly as China's cities are today. The rivers in northeast Ohio used to be ORANGE in some places, and the whole area had a perpetual "burning" smell, even on days when the pollution wasn't (as) visible. There were times when the pollution in Pittsburgh was *so* bad, the street lights came on mid-afternoon. Apparently, the Cuyahoga River thr

      • But they did it the hard way: shuttering a lot of industries in the northeastern quadrant of Ohio. That's why northeastern Ohio has never really recovered once those industries started shutting down in the 1970's and 1980's.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @11:11AM (#55809437) Homepage

      1. Feeding, clothing and sheltering around 1.7 billion people--around 20% of Earth's human population.

      This is just stupid Goldilocks talk, we get that a lot on /. from people with no arguments... the nations in Europe are too small. China is too big. The US is different from everyone else and just right. Bovine excrement.

      2. A massive air and water pollution problem that is already affecting the health of many Chinese.

      Life expectancy is 76 years, far above the world average of 71.5 years and trailing the US by <3 years. China's GDP/capita is now around the world average, half the world is poorer than China and in total they're second only to the US. They have a huge net export ($500,000 million/year) and very low national debt (41% compared to 106% in the US). Basically they're already in good health and have a massive unused economic muscle they could use to buy polluting goods from others, create greener tech, subsidize greener tech, levy taxes on polluting goods they produce and so on.

      Truth is that China is far from worst in class: Smog-cloaked Delhi looks with envy at Beijing's cleaner air [ft.com]. Not only particulates, but China's Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Drop, India's Grow Over Last Decade [nasa.gov]. Those are the two biggest local pollution issues. Their total energy consumption and CO2 emissions are growing [climatechangenews.com] but that's a global problem that won't more adversely affect China than anyone else. If you think any of these are "collapse of China" class problems you're wildly delusional.

      • I have to disagree here.

        Remember, China's land mass is only slightly larger than the land mass of the USA, but holds more than fives times the population of the USA. That's a recipe for a potential health crisis, especially given the persistent air pollution problem plaguing many Chinese cities now and the water pollution problem from industrial waste.

        China has to address this problem over the next 20 years, and that's going to take very serious amounts of monetary resources to do so.

    • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @11:18AM (#55809507) Journal
      No, the big challenge facing China is the coming generation (35 to 15) where single child families were the legal rule. You'll have four grandparents, and two parents to support for every worker. Massive population implosion. Given the poor social benefits of China (essentially non-existent), you're going to find a lot of children working themselves to death and still not be able to take care of their grandparents and parents.
      • It is highly unlikely that you have examples where it is normal for people to support their parents and grandparents.

        Especially if those parents and grandparents have a pension and free health care.

        Did you mean New Year celebrations are going to be a big headache?

        How many average years of retirement are expecting them to get, where they have overlapping generations of retired people?

  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Tuesday December 26, 2017 @09:56AM (#55808853)

    Putting a cap on population growth is essentially what the certain areas of California have done, although at a much smaller endpoint.

    Under typical historical circumstances, the concentration of economic activity would have led to high-density buildings and eventually skyscrapers and such, followed by construction of the systems to handle the higher density, such as subways. However, restrictions on construction in and around the Bay Area have locked most areas into low-density development. This restricts the resident population to either incumbent residents that bought in the past, or higher-earning newcomers who can afford the exorbitant housing costs. Infrastructure limitations also limit the size of the non-resident worker population that can migrate in/out on a daily basis.

    Either way, it's an interesting social experiment in squeezing city-like economic activity into a suburb-like layout.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      The decisions made back then were based on the ability of buildings to withstand earthquakes, that residents didn't want to live in the sun-shadow of high-rise buildings, nor did they want MVA (market-value assessment) of a high-rise condo to suddenly blow their property tax valuation into the stratosphere.

      Other cities across the world are now working on the idea of walkable cities, where shops, homes and offices are close enough so that everyone can just walk around.

      • Another disincentive: tall buildings that aren't public housing projects are *expensive* to build, even by Bay Area housing prices. In the Bay Area, there's almost zero demand for expensive residential skyscrapers, because the people who could afford to live in them & drive the market in places like New York and Miami don't want to live in them. And adjacent single-family neighborhoods that *might* tolerate an architecturally-spectacular tower for wealthy residents will fight a low-income housing projec

        • by fubarrr ( 884157 )

          A polar opposite of what is in China.

          I rented a room on a 38th floor in a 42 floor tower where most of my neighbours were so so people for a snob like me.

          The trick I was told is to pick flats to rent in very narrow buildings where you do not have more than two or three apartments per floor

          Only super rich there live in detached mansions within city limits here

  • It's already over 25 million...

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