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Several Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Further Strengthening Administration on Urban Planning and Construction Issued
On Feb. 6, 2016, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council of China issued Several Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Further Strengthening the Administration for Urban Planning and Construction (abbreviated as the Opinions in the following part). As a supportive document to the Central Urban Work Conference in the end of 2015, the Opinions make clear the guiding thoughts, general goal, and fundamental principles for the administration of urban planning and construction, highlighting key tasks in strengthening the administration of urban planning and construction from several perspectives. The Opinions state that the general goal of administration for urban planning and construction is: realizing orderly construction, development at a proper scale, and operation with a high efficiency in the city, constructing modernized cities that are harmonious and livable, full of energy and with distinctive characteristics, and making people’s life better.

Regarding the difficulty in planning implementation, the Opinions stress the mandatory aspects of planning, and requires to “seriously investigate and affix responsibilities for activities of against planning.” The revision of a city master plan must be approved by original departments that reviewed and approved the planning, before reporting to the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of the same level for examination, so as to prevent random revision of the planning. Considering the phenomenon in which architectural design pursues large scale, being favorable to exotic styles, and in strange forms, as well as the loss of distinctive characteristics and cultural inheritance, the Opinions put forward the principle for architectural design that is being “appropriate, economical, green, and beautiful,” in order to prevent activities that excessively stresses architectural appearance and to strengthen the administration on architectural design of public buildings and high-rise buildings that exceed the height limitation. At the same time, full competition among architectural design corporations both from China and abroad should be encouraged. Efforts should be made to foster architects with both international visions and national confidence, and architectural critiques should be advocated.

The Opinions require that within about 10 years, the proportion of prefabricated construction in new buildings should reach 30%, and the promotion of steel-structures should be carried out actively and steadily. Moreover, in areas where the conditions are ready, efforts should be put into promoting the development of modern wood-structure buildings.

The Opinions also clarify the two primary directions for a further in-depth reform of the urban housing system, i.e., guaranteeing the fundamental housing requirements of unprivileged groups with the government as the main body, and satisfying residents’ housing requirements at multiple levels with the market as the main body.

In addition, according to the Opinions, gated residential blocks in principle will no longer be built, and closed blocks and unit courtyards that have been built up will be opened up gradually, in order to release the internal roads of these blocks for public uses, solving problems in the layout of the transportation road network, and facilitate land use savings. Meanwhile, city parks will in principle be opened to citizens for free. 

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