1/27/2011

A Metacity of 42 million inhabitants for China?

This is not the first time I heard this news. Even when studying both Japanese and Chinese (thirteen years ago), a professor in architecture of China announced that China was thinking of a city which size will be at a country scale. This metacity (not a megapole but, this professor said, used the term of "metacity") was supposed to be located in the south of China.
This news announces that China plans a new mega city with a population of 42 million. At this scale, I am wondering if meta city (I am thinking of François Ascher's Metapolis) suits better than "mega city" which appears to be "20th century".
Starting with Michele Travierso's article "China Plans a New Mega City: ¨Population, 42 million", Let's try to draw a utopian future for China: China a new "metacity"?.
Shanghai: The City, photography © Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images. Originally appeared on Time.

This time, according to Michele Travierso, a journalist of Time, some ambitious apparatchiks in southern China want to combine nine cities to create an urban area the size of New Jersey and Vermont combined.

The plan, Michele Travierso continues, which has been announced in state media, would unite several existing cities in the prosperous Pearl River Delta region, including Guangzhou (12 million), Shenzhen (8?6 million), Dongguan (6.9 million) and six smaller cities. Together, these cities already account for about 10% of China's economy.

To form this metacity, transport must be linked and infrastructure must be beneficial to the population.

Another point: Travierso adds that China is facing a similar gravitational pull to merge together, notably Beijing with its southern smaller twin tianjin, already joined by the high speed train which links Beijing to Shanghai. I will add that not only Tianjin but also Langfang which is located midway between Beijing and Tianjin. Langfang just unveiled a program of redevelopment which can viewed as a preparation to this vast ambition.

Urbanization appeares to be used as a tool to make China one of the most powerful "country-cum-city" in the world. China, not only, is developing vast program of urban (re)developments that may (or may) create metacities as large as a country like Switzerland — or maybe, if so, will make China the first country-turned-into-metacity in the world — but also attempts to find solutions to resolve problems of sustainability, pollution, to quote but a few for these cities to make them attractive with high quality of life such as Langfang eco-smart cities master plan or Tianjing Eco-City.

But the question/discussion is open about the future occupants. I, naively, am wondering who will be concerned by this transformation into metaticies if transformation there will be. Will this metacity be opened to all or will housing and other residential blocks will be dedicated to a certain social class? etc, etc. Questions emerge following this probable program. The only answer that we can formulate is that this metacity will be a smart-eco-city, for sure.
Shanghai: Technology, photography © Michael Christopher Brown for Time. Originally appeared on Time.
Source: Time.

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