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June 30, 2011

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Suburbs to have seven new towns

MORE than 4.4 million residents will be encouraged to move to the suburbs in 2020 after the city government pledged to build seven new towns with full public service facilities and more job opportunities, the city's urban planner revealed yesterday.

"Shanghai's development focus has been shifted to the suburbs from downtown areas," said Hu Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Planning and Land Resources.

The residents, accounting for 18 percent of the city's population, will move from both downtown areas and other Yangtze River Delta cities to new towns in Jiading, Songjiang, Lingang (in the Pudong New Area), Qingpu, Nanqiao (in Fengxian District), Jinshan and Chongming, Hu said.

The plan could help to rearrange local industry and population structures, so as to improve the city's economic development as well as people's living standards. The towns would also promote the development of cities in neighboring provinces, he said.

Infrastructure and housing, especially affordable houses, are being built for the towns and complete public facilities, including hospitals, schools and sports and cultural venues, are in the works.

Opinions on the plan were divided. "I am reluctant to move to the suburbs even if I had a job there, because it will be too inconvenient," said Han Zhifei, 26, a network engineer at Daikin air conditioner company in Minhang District. He shuttles two hours every day between his home and work.

But the plan was good news to Zhang Da from Liaoning Province who rents an apartment in Jing'an District. "The rent in the downtown area accounts for most of my salary, so I would like to move to the new towns and even find a new job there."

The Songjiang and Jiading new towns will house about 2 million residents. The towns in Lingang, Qingpu and Nanqiao will attract 1.8 million people, while the Jinshan and Chongming towns will have 600,000 people.


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