China creates new city planning categories and could shift growth to cities with 5 million or less population

China urban planning has created a new megacity category that could make it harder for residents to move to the mainland’s biggest cities if it comes with tougher population controls.

Six cities would fall into the megacity category – Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing , Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenzhen (10 million plus people).

The “very large” cities with populations of between five million and 10 million people have 16 cities fall in this group.

“Large cities” will refer to those centres with a population of between 1 million and 5 million.

“mid-sized cities” will refer to those with between 500,000 and 1 million people

“small cities” will have less than 500,000.

The State Council did not say what population and urban management policies would be introduced, but urban planners said smaller cities might be given more opportunities to grow.

Li Xun, deputy director of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, said population controls in the six megacities could become “even tighter”, and it could remain very difficult to get an urban hukou, or household registration, in the 10 very large cities.

Zhao Zhao, a researcher with the China City Development Academy, said the urbanisation drive needed to focus more on third and fourth-tier cities instead of megalopolises.

As part of its urbanisation push, the authorities plan to raise the proportion of urban residents to about 60 per cent of the total population by 2020, up from 53.7 per cent now. But Beijing has repeatedly delayed the plan’s rollout in the last two years. President Xi Jinping rejected one proposal last year because it focused more on investment than improving livelihoods.

SOURCE – South China Morning Post