Jing-Jin-Ji: China is in the midst of a construction spree unparalleled in human history. These are the Megaprojects that will lift China into the future. China wants to make its capital, Beijing, the center of the world’s largest supercity, by merging three provinces into one continuous megalopolis of 130 million people.
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China is in the midst of a construction spree unparalleled in human history. Over the course of just 40 years, the Chinese will be adding a layer of infrastructure that will rival what we in the United States have built in our entire past.
These are the Megaprojects that will lift China into the future.
China wants to make its capital, Beijing, the center of the world’s largest supercity, by merging three provinces into one continuous megalopolis of 130 million people. That’s six times the population of New York.
The region is called Jing-Jin-Ji. It will tie together the cities in the three provinces along the Bohai Bay rim using advanced communications networks, new high-speed rail and subway lines, and better highways.
Reports are that Beijing’s focus will be culture and technology, Tianjin will become a research base for manufacturing, and Hebei will be the new home of many of the federal bureaucracy jobs that will be relocated from the capital.
The project has the full backing of President Xi Jinping to catch the area up to China’s more economically prosperous regions, like what Shanghai and Nanjing have got going on in the Yangtze River Delta.
Covering roughly the total land area of the US state of Kansas, Jing-Jin-Ji will be unlike anything seen before in the history of mankind.
And even though it’s still a work in progress -- part of a long-term vision -- that’s not stopping people from moving into areas that are completely unready for them. “The services are bad,” says a salesman who commutes a total of five hours a day on congested roads. His 6-year-old child has more than 65 kids in his class.
They live in Yanjiao, one of the many tower-filled suburbs that are sprouting up all across Jing-Jin-Ji. Yanjiao has about ¾ of a million residents, but just two very small parks and no bus terminals.
Why is this the case?
Because corruption is perceived as rampant at the local level in China, the central government doesn’t allow cities to keep the little tax revenues they do collect. So communities like Yanjiao have no way to pay for desperately-needed schools, roads or enough buses to adequately serve their citizens.
The most vital piece of infrastructure that will help fix a lot of these problems is still being built, Jing-Jin-Ji’s high speed rail network. With trains that can hit 185 miles per hour, urban areas that were previously confined by the 60 miles per hour speeds of a car or subway or train, can now greatly expand.
Thanks for watching. Make sure to subscribe to get part 2 and the rest of this series. For The Daily Conversation, I’m Bryce Plank.