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Population Density of China’s Urban Built-up Area Decreases
At the Summit of Urbanization Develop-ment during the 12th Five-year Plan period in Mar. 26 , YANG Weimin, Secretary of the National Development and Reform Commission, stated that China’s current urban development is experiencing the tendency for low density and decentralization, which has brought about the problem of the overly fast loss of farmland. Since the start of this century, the urban built-up area in domestic cities has expanded by about 50%, but the urban population has only increased by 26%, which indicates that land urbanization is double the speed of population urbanization in China. “Therefore, the population density in China’s urban built-up area has been decreasing for the thirty years since the reform and opening up,” said Secretary Yang. One of the main reasons for the above situation is the construction of development zones by local governments. At present, the number of development zones at the national and provincial level has exceeded 1,500, with an average area of 6 km2, and the largest one is more than 15 km2.

YANG Weimin stated that during the 12th Five-year Plan period, the development scope of cities should be determined rationally to increase the population density in urban built-up areas, preventing the over-expansion of mega cities. In response to this issue, the State Development and Reform Commission will promulgate a specific plan for urban development. Targeting the intensive utilization of land during the urbanization process, HU Cunzhi, General Planner of the Ministry of Land and Resources, also proposed that a land-use restriction for urban development should be set. Otherwise, along with the growth of GDP, the built-up area would also increase irrationally, and no country could afford this cost, even one as large as China. Economist FAN Gang also suggested that more powerful political measures could be applied and that the floor area ratio should be raised.

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