China is promoting low-carbon ecocity development as a key priority in the 12th 5-Year Plan

A discussion from Tom M. Wolters on a linkedin group leads to the following article from bURB  by fiona liu which  reflects the incredible speed with which an autocratic top-down planning system can implement radical changes to its system – it remains to be seen if these changes a will in fact be  implemented as designed and that they will give the desired results – but there is no doubt that the Chinese authorities are serious about this – I also wonder how the aspirations and needs of common people are going to be impinged on or squashed by these somewhat grandoise schemes and how Western consultants and firms are willing to rush into these schemes without knowledge of how the norms that they are based on were arrived at – i.e. how were the indicators used arrived at and how do we know they are in fact right? FYP or five year plans have an ominous ring of the Stalinist and Mao years.

Tianjin: the future city

Evolution of Chinese regulation of eco-city: new low-carbon town policy_4th june 2011

China has made the international commitment to reducing carbon intensity by 40% to 45% by 2020. The period from 2005 to 2020 takes in three Five-year plans (FYPs), the 11th, 12th and 13th. (FYPs). FYP is one of China’s most important long-term planning policy tools, which sets down and clarify national strategy, reflecting a key strengths of the socialism is its capacity for long-term, national-level planning – its political continuity. The FYP also represent the feature of Chinese government’s largely top-down management character: central government forces local government to make emissions cuts and, to achieve that, local governments have to enforce power cuts.

In the 11th FYP (2005-2010), China has seen a drop of 19.06% in energy intensity, meaning a drop in carbon intensity of 20% to 21%. Starting from 2005, The 11FYP calls for “building a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society”, emphasizing the importance of “sound urbanization”, and expressed the intention to pursue a “new pattern for urban development which is resource-conserving, environmentally friendly, economically efficient, and socially harmonious” .

12 FYP addresses urbanization as a central issue, and emphasizes on inclusive growth. FYP projected that from 2011 to 2015, the population living in urban areas will continue to grow and is likely to reach 51.5%. 12 FYP targets at creating 45 million jobs in urban areas, keeping registered urban unemployment below 5% and boosting domestic consumption. As part of the drive to realize these goals, the government will boost investment in “improving people’s livelihood”, for example to built and renovate more apartments for low-income families, and extend the current urban pension schemes to including the 357 million urban residents. 12 FYP aims at 16% cut in energy intensity, corresponding to 17% cut in carbon intensity.

Following the adaptation of the 12 FYP, a new round of revision to the both sets of eco-city guideline in both ministries are expected to come soon. However, experience from Caofeidian and CCTEC shouldn’t be expected to be incorporated into national eco-city guideline very soon.

To support the new urbanization philosophy in the 12 FYP, a set of new regulations

Vice minister of MoHURD Qiu Baoding’s June 27th speeches on Chinese Urban Development and Planning Conference in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, indicated the likely direction to this round of revision to the MoHURD defining of eco-cities.

Earlier in the same June, on June 4th, the MoHURD published <Regulations on MoHURD low carbon pilot city (town) application and management> [Mo]. The conditions for applying low-carbon cities and towns laid out in this new regulation are:
1) the planned construction scale of low-carbon cities should be less than 3 square meters, without occupying arable land
2) the location of this eco-city should be within the 30km radiant circle with the center downtown, and optimally it should be within 100 km from big cities.
3) close to express way, railway (or prolonged urban rail tracks), either existing or planned.
4) if it is close to existing road network, the design of this road network should be compliant with the “green transportation” principle
5) working governance mechanism, including system refor, capital and regulation support (no clear statement where the money should come from).

A can view a presentation Low-Carbon Eco-City Construction in China

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