On December 27,2013, the Shanghai 14th Municipal Commission passed the Shanghai Underground Space Planning Regulations, which will be implemented from April 1, 2014. The Regulations signal Shanghai’s intention to carry out new planning initiatives.

In recent years, Shanghai has positioned itself to be an international financial center, and its various new districts have been building iconic buildings and developing new industries.

Shanghai new district

However, the discrepancies between plans and reality are obvious. Take Lingang New City for example. The district plan projects the population to be 800,000 by 2020, but some media describe the Lingang New City as “an empty town” due to its current low population density. The district has been developing its industries and trying to attract people for ten years, but based on the current pace, its goal seems to be impractical.

Shanghai New District

Nanxiang District is another example of a new town development that falls short of reaching its goals. The district was projected to increase its population from 180,000 to 300,000 by 2015. However, the district is losing its migrant workers due to increasing housing prices. As the industries are switching to high-end manufacturing and services, many factories have been shut down. In addition, due to the local government’s effort to upgrade the infrastructure, a lot of old houses with cheap rents were demolished. Many low-skill migrant workers lost their jobs and could not find affordable places to live, so many of them have moved back to their hometown.

What do you think the Shanghai municipal government should do in order to reach their development goals for new districts? 

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

The original article, published in Chinese, can be found here.