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April 12, 2011

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Five areas earmarked for growth

SHANGHAI is planning to control the number of people living in the downtown area and encourage more residents to move to outlying areas over the next five years.

Further development of the suburban satellite cities of Jiading, Songjiang, Jinshan, Nanqiao and Lingang is one of the aims of the 12th Five-Year Plan which kicks off this year.

In a plan issued by the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission, four zones have been identified where measures will be taken to improve population density and relieve the pressure on downtown areas.

The first zone is inside the Outer Ring Road, an area of 630 square kilometers.

The current population density is over 15,000 people per square kilometer. The government plans to stabilize that and ensure that the total population doesn't rise above 10 million by 2020.

Within the Inner Ring Road the density rises to over 30,000 people per square kilometer, creating pressure on traffic, housing and urban development. The government aims to have more people move out of the crowded area and to stabilize the numbers staying in the regions between the two ring roads.

The second zone is the area outside the Outer Ring Road and north to Huangpu River and Dazhi River, and where the government is seeking to expand the population. It contains the satellite cities.

The zone of some 2,250 square kilometers is expected to have a population of 9 million by 2020 through the creation of more residential complexes and the establishment of more subway services.

The commission said the satellite cities were not yet playing as important a role as those in other major cities such as Tokyo and Seoul which have a population density of 5,000-10,000 people per square kilometer. The current density in the five satellite cities is just 1,248 people per square kilometer and they had not yet managed to attract a significant number of downtown residents. Local farmers and migrant workers make up the bulk of the population at present.

The third zone is the Shanghai outskirts excluding the second zone and most of Chongming County. The 3,300 square kilometers are mainly agricultural and its population will be 3.5 million by 2020, not much more than at present.

The fourth zone is the city's natural reserves such as Dongtan, Hengsha Island and Jiuduansha in Chongming County. The government plans to move 10,000 people from the current 30,000 to better protect the natural environment.

Shanghai had 22.21 million residents by the end of last year, including 8.3 million migrant people who had stayed at the city over six months.

The population density last year was 3,503 per square kilometer, more than 20 times the national level. Rising population density and uneven population distribution are two major problems the city faces, the commission said.


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