China’s new city development blueprint stirs discussion

CCTV News

CFP PHOTO. CFP PHOTO.

A new city development blueprint has caused much consternation for social media users in China, with people fearing that the government will demolish the exterior walls of their private residential compounds in the future.

The debate online began after a government guideline was released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Sunday.

The guideline basically urges city planners to come up with more advanced and reasonable plans to deal with emerging urban problems like congestion, pollution and overcapacity, and optimize the structure of street networks in order to promote an open and easy-access street-and-block system.

However, one of these proposals seemed to have the potential of bringing about major changes to the landscape of Chinese cities and thus drew considerable concern.

It said that the city should not built residential areas with enclosed walls, and existing residential and corporate compounds will be gradually “opened up,” so that the interior pathways can be shared as public roads, which will help to improve the city’s longstanding congestion problem.

Residential compounds are an inherent part of China’s modern cities due to the density of China’s population. Most living areas in cities like Beijing have many residential zones, with inner green fields, playgrounds and other public amenities for the residents. Residents can come in through automatic gates using their passes.

Many netizens and lawyers have argued that the new measures to force private areas to become open to the public are “illegal,” since they infringe on existing property laws. The shared public spaces within residential areas, which usually have green fields, playground and other public amenities, are already paid for by the residents, they’ve argued.

Moreover, others think that the policy would not do them any good as well, since it also raises many safety concerns.

In fact, only a small number of users have voiced their support, saying that this is a good step and imitates city planning as it is practiced in the West.

On Tuesday, China’s Supreme People’s Court, the highest court in the Chinese mainland, also weighed in on the debate.

Cheng Xinwen, the institution’s spokesman, said the measure is a “visionary city development idea” and is a current trend in global city planning. He continued to say that the proposal is still at “national policy” level; therefore, it still needs to be discussed before it could be put into legal force.

Story by CCTV NEWS