Daily Mail – January 25, 2011
China is set to flex its industrial muscles on a scale the world has never seen – with a ‘mega-city’ twice as big as Wales and a population of 42million.
Blueprints have been laid to meld nine existing urban hubs in the country’s manufacturing heartland into a single sprawling metropolis designed to rival the productive firepower of Beijing and Shanghai.
The project is scheduled to be completed within the next six years turning the Pearl River Delta, southern China, into a living space which, at 16,000 square miles, will dwarf Greater London by 26 times.
Dubbed ‘Turn the Pearl River Delta into One’, the scheme will stretch from Guangzhou to Shenzhen, incorporating Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing.
Some 3,100 miles of railway will be laid to connect the cities as just one of 150 infrastructure improvements including, energy, water and telecommunications.
The project’s senior consultant Ma Xiangming said: ‘The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas.’
Mr Ma, who is also the chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute, said the city will far outstrip Greater London or Greater Tokyo because ‘there is no one city at the heart of this megalopolis’.
He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across the region and public services will also be distributed more fairly.’
He said phone bills will fall by 85 per cent, rail ticket prices will drop dramatically while hospitals and schools will improve.
‘Residents will be able to choose where to get their services and will use the internet to find out which hospital, for example, is less busy,’ said Mr Ma.
He said the main problem now is naming the area, adding: ‘We can’t just name it after one of the existing cities.’
In an area where pollution is already a problem, planners hope to tackle it with a ‘united policy’ while unifying the price of petrol and electricity.
China, now the world’s biggest economy, has injected huge sums of cash into investment projects across vast swathes of the country’s free land.
It builds around 20 brand new cities each year as it undergoes urbanisation on a scale bigger than the world has ever seen.
Its total investment in urban infrastructure will equal around £685billion over the next five years while, by 2025, it will have added some 350 million city-dwellers to its population.
China will pave 5billion square metres of road, add up to 170 mass transit systems, and build 40 billion square metres of floor space to house its soaring population.