Well here are some interesting figures (via MIT Technology Review):
- In the past two decades, about 400 million people moved into China’s cities — so more than the entire population of the United States
- By 2035, about 70% of China’s entire population is expected to be urban (up from 60% today and up from 30% two decades ago)
- To accommodate this scale of growth, China’s national urban development approach has shifted to something that now revolves around city clusters, or megalopolises (term coined by French geographer Jean Gottmann back in the 1950s to describe the Boston-Washington corridor in the Northeastern US)
- By 2035, there are expected to be five major city clusters (see above)
- One of the reasons for this is to improve cooperation across the various clusters — less competition and less redundancy
- But it’s also about creating smaller more manageable cities — is this what one needs to do after a certain scale, go polycentric?
- To service these clusters, China is rolling out a network of 16 new high-speed rail lines
- By 2035, China expects to have 200,000 kilometers of rail, with a third of it being high-speed — assuming this happens, China will be home to 60% of the world’s high-speed rail coverage
- Current cost estimates for the construction of this network comes out to about US$150 million per kilometer
- 1-2-3 Rule: The plan is that everyone should be able to get around a city within 1 hour; a city cluster within 2 hours; and travel between the country’s clusters inside of 3 hours
China is building.