Gansu sets sights on big cities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 August, 2002, 12:00am

Gansu province faces a tough task in catching up with urbanisation in the rest of the mainland, according to a provincial official.

The vice-director of Gansu's Bureau of Construction, Liu Zuhe, said the province's urbanisation rate was 24 per cent, lagging far behind the national average of 36 per cent.

China had a much lower urbanisation rate than the average of 45 per cent for developed countries, he said.

'We hope to increase the urbanisation rate by one per cent every year. By the end of 2005, we hope to achieve 30 per cent.'

He said Gansu was mapping a blueprint to expand the size of its cities since only its capital, Lanzhou, was considered a large city by national standards. He said Gansu had about seven medium-size cities, which the government hoped to develop into large cities in the next 10 years.

Urbanisation is seen as an important instrument to boost domestic demand, create jobs and revive local economies. Apart from expanding the population and size of cities such as Baiyin and Tianshui, Mr Liu said the provincial government also hoped to develop counties along the railway route into cities.

Authorities also have finished a draft plan for a major facelift to Lanzhou - once rated by an international magazine as the world's most polluted city.

Mr Liu said the existing plan - developed in the 1950s - could no longer cater to the needs of the fast-growing city. Among plans being considered are moving universities from the city centre to the suburbs and creating a university town.