By Shi Ling
Recently, the National Development and Reform Commission and other 18 Chinese departments jointly issued a document on guiding large settlement areas of poverty alleviation relocation to integrate into new-type urbanization for high-quality development.
Promoting the integrated development of more settlement areas and the towns they are located in is a necessary measure to consolidate the achievements of China’s poverty alleviation relocation.
Urbanization is the sure route to modernization. The promotion of urbanization is of huge significance for ensuring great performance in the work relating to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, promoting coordinated regional development, expanding domestic demand and driving industrial upgrading.
The report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China said the country will thoroughly implement the new urbanization strategy, advance people-centered new urbanization and work faster to grant permanent urban residency to eligible people who move from rural to urban areas.
Never in history has a developing country as populous as China attempted to engineer a well-managed process of urbanization.
Foreign practices have proved that China cannot follow the beaten track of inefficient and blinkered development relying on borrowed money that damages the environment and results in an imbalance between population and land. That path will lead the country nowhere.
In the past decade, China has explored a path of a new type of urbanization that puts people first, integrates the development of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization, and features improved spatial layout, eco-environmental protection and preservation of Chinese cultural heritages.
On this path in the right direction, China is able to expand its domestic demand, improve labor productivity, break the urban-rural dual economic structure and promote social equality and common prosperity. It also benefits the global economy and ecological environment.
Cities are key elements driving the country’s modernization and an important carrier of high-quality development. To empower economic and social development, urban spatial layout and form must be constantly optimized.
City clusters and metropolitan areas shall play an important role in boosting the economy, expanding human carrying capacity and driving regional development. Besides, it is also important to guide the development of small- and medium-sized cities and boost the county’s economy so as to tackle “urban diseases.”
Today, China’s urbanization has entered a new stage, a key period when the country is transitting rapid development to a mature stage in its urbanization process.
China’s urbanization will target the coordinated development of large, medium-sized and small cities relying on city clusters and metropolitan areas, and focus more on county-level regions. It will offer ceaseless energy for the country’s high-quality development.
Over the recent years, many cities across China have been striving to build themselves into national civilized cities, implementing effective and targeted governance.
Urbanization calls for both physical expansion and releasing of cities’ potential. It should address problems emerging in development and meet the diversified demands of different groups.
Urban ecology shall be improved so as to provide citizens with pleasant natural landscapes and retain their love of nature. The public health system shall be enhanced so that people would gain more sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. A sound environment for entrepreneurship should be built so that talents have opportunities to make their own accomplishments. Each of these efforts calls for cities’ capability in urban planning, construction and governance.
People are at the core of the new type of urbanization. Promoting urban residency for rural people capable of securing a stable job in the cities remains the top priority of the new type of urbanization.
Over the past 10 years, China has granted urban residency to a total of 130 million rural-to-urban population and other permanent residents in cities.
To turn more rural-to-urban population into permanent urban residents, the country must deepen reform in its household registration system, improve education, health and other public services, and lift their vocational skills. As a result, they can truly fit into the new environment and embrace a new life.
When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, only 10.6 percent of Chinese people lived in cities. Now the figure soared to 65.2 percent as of the end of 2022. The country, which used to boast a huge rural population, is getting more and more urbanized today.