Best strategy for nation's urbanization debated

By Chris Dalby in Boao Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-7 23:28:01

Chinese cities stand at a crossroads, and which way they should go was a topic of vivid debate at the Boao Forum for Asia Sunday, during a discussion of the quality of urbanization in China.

Huang Haibo, the Phoenix TV anchor and moderator, pointed to problems with public health and food safety in some cities as a damning indictment of the poor state of urbanization in China and said that the country should learn from other examples.

One such example was outlined by Michael Antonovich, chairman of the Los Angeles MTA. He explained that LA was once much like large cities in China but that it saw the long-term cost effectiveness of taking steps such as making trucks and trains run on natural gas and enforcing no-smoking campaigns.

He cautioned that if China does not heed such warnings, it will see the results in its future budgets and health issues.

The varied challenges of urbanization were focused on by Li Xiaolin, chairman of China Power International Development, who called for the top echelons of the government to form strong principles upon which to build a smart grid to power cities.

Zhang Xinqi, the mayor of Qingdao, warned that despite being held up as a success story, Qingdao also faced challenges, particularly in industrialization. The spiraling cost of labor has driven major industry out of the city, said Zhang.

Neville Power, CEO of Australian steel manufacturer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, said that China can learn from the process of urbanization in the US from 1920 to 1975.

Combining this foreign learning with the examples set by more recent urbanization swells in places like Chengdu may be the only way for Chinese cities of the future to be livable and sustainable, Power noted.

Posted in: Economy

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