ISSUES2015 No.4
Editor’s Note: Nowadays, when China is undergoing the transition to the new normal after more than three decades of rapid development, it is facing the challenge of reforming its spatial planning system which is undoubtedly indispensable for guaranteeing the development of new urbanization. Currently in China, spatial planning mainly refers to the socio-economic development planning, land use planning, and urban-rural planning, which is respectively under the jurisdiction of the governmental departments of development and reform, land administration, and housing and urban-rural development. They are all conducted in parallel in a top-down way, following the hierarchical administration system from national level to provincial, municipal, county, and town levels, yet with apparently different concerns. The socio-economic development planning is relatively comprehensive and pragmatic to concern the key aspects of socio-economic development, including urbanization, while land use planning focuses more on the supply of construction land and the protection of farmland, and the urban-rural planning more on the construction activities in both the urban and rural areas. Although there are already the laws and rules regulating the formulation and implementation of the plans as outcome of the above-mentioned planning systems respectively, there are no specific regulations on how to coordinate the plans when they are in conflicts, a case that often occurs in reality which inevitably brings about confusions in action. That is why in recent years, integrating the three planning systems has become a hot topic in both the academic and practical fields. However, up to now, no consensus has been achieved on this issue. Some propose to combine the plans of the three planning systems into one plan or one “blueprint,” some propose to unite the data and uniform the norms of the three planning systems, and some others propose to set up a unified spatial planning system which includes the three planning systems and others as well. Relative experiments are also carried out at various localities in China, following different ideas. It may be hard to make any evaluations at this moment on the effects of these experiments, because it will take time to testify the effects, but it is undeniable that setting up a unified spatial planning system is necessary for China to promote and guarantee the development of new urbanization, which shall integrate all the planning systems concerning spatial development, as well as the relative norms and standards, such as socio-economic development planning, land use planning, urban-rural planning, and environmental protection planning, etc.

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