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FEATURE STORY: Xiong'an New Area. Crucial for the Millennium to Come
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Xiong'an New Area: Crucial for the Millennium to Come
By Harold Murphy

BT 201803 Feature 02 自去年4月1日设立新区的消息公布以来,雄安一直是舆论追逐的焦点。半年多来,尽管相关的规划尚未披露,但随着各项工作的稳步推进,新区的整体轮廓正日渐清晰。

中央雄安新区位于中国河北省保定市境内,地处北京、天津、保定腹地,规划范围涵盖河北省雄县、容城、安新等3个小县及周边部分区域, 对雄县、容城、安新3县及周边区域实行托管。在雄安设立新区是以习近平同志为核心的党中央作出的一项重大的历史性战略选择,是继深圳经济特区和上海浦东新区之后又一具有全国意义的新区,是千年大计、国家大事。预计到2020年,新区对外骨干交通路网将基本建成,起步区基础设施建设和产业布局框架基本形成,雏形初步显现;到2030年,建成绿色低碳、信息智能、宜居宜业,具有较强竞争力和影响力,人与自然和谐共处的现代化城市。届时,雄安新区将成为一座环境优美、交通便捷、设施先进、令人向往的宜居城市。同时,通过对户籍、住房、教育、医疗等领域的改革,新区还将对年轻人充满吸引力:工资收入不低,居住成本不高,还能享受到优质的公共服务。

雄安新区选址在雄县、容城、安新三县,其中一个很重要的考量就是白洋淀。在普遍干旱缺水的华北平原,有着200多平方公里水域的白洋淀,是极其稀缺的生态资源。这片天然的大湿地被誉为华北之肾。新区囊括了白洋淀整个水域,从某种意义上说,新区正是因淀而生。就在去年的2月23日,中共中央总书记习近平在实地考察雄安新区建设规划时,专程前往白洋淀。他说:“小时候读小兵张嘎的故事,就对这里十分神往。”在考察过程中,他多次强调,建设雄安新区,一定要把白洋淀修复好、保护好。

雄安新区地处华北平原,一马平川,距北京、天津各100公里,城际高铁20分钟,高速只有1小时车程。更重要的是,首都新机场即将建成,未来的机场快轨,必然通往雄安新区。十八大后,中央推进京津冀协同发展有两项战略举措,其一是建设北京城市副中心,即北京市搬到通州;其二就是建设河北雄安新区。二者将形成“首都北京”新的两翼。

雄安的新区规划建设将用最先进的理念和国际一流的水准进行城市设计,建设标杆工程,打造城市建设的典范。

The Xiong'an New Area is a new state-level district that has been created out of the Anxin, Xiongxian and Rongcheng counties in Baoding Area of the Hebei Province of China. First conceived in 2014 as a brainchild of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, the project was announced in April 2017. Conception and planning of this area was done secretly and only when its development was announced on Xiwhen Lianbo, a TV news program of the state-owed China Global Television Network (CGTN), was it made public.
 

This is the latest of the so-called “state-level new areas” in China, which are urban districts that have been assigned the status of special economic zones with the support of central governments. These new areas are granted certain privileges by the State Council so that they can attract the necessary foreign direct and local investment that will boost the local economies.

FS 01Location of the Xiong’an New Area

Purpose

The apparent purpose of development of the Xiong’an New Area is to seamlessly decongest Beijing and encourage settlement into the new economic area. Beijing’s infrastructure is already groaning under the massive strain it takes on a daily basis in terms of transportation, environment, housing and social amenities. Water shortages, traffic gridlocks and overcrowded train stations are a permanent feature of the capital city, as is the perennial sight of residents wearing face masks to combat the effects of smog.
 

So pushing some of the influx away from Beijing down to the south seems to be a logical solution to the problem. The Xiong’an New Area, which will initially be a 100 square kilometres development, will eventually cover an area of 2,000 square kilometres. This is nearly triple the size of Singapore’s land mass as well as that of New York. Developers say it will be a city that will be built virtually out of nothing, totally eclipsing what today is mainly marshland, a lake and small shanty towns. It is meant to be a city just like Beijing or Shenzhen, with the same privileges that are found in the capital city.
 

Businesses and institutions that are not deemed necessary to the functioning of Beijing as the capital of China will be encouraged to move to the new city. Already, there is very heavy demand for land in the Xiong’an New Area, so much so that the provincial government has suspended the allocation and sales of new lots to intending buyers as a result of skyrocketing prices and activities of speculators.

BT 201803 Feature 01Infrastructural Plan

The infrastructural plan has been designed in such a way so as to avoid some of the mistakes that were made with Beijing, where infrastructural development did not keep pace with the city’s expansion, and where consideration for the effects of such expansion on the environment were realized belatedly.

A seven-point target plan has been developed to guide the development of the Xiong’an New Area and covers the following:

a) Make the new town as environmentally green as can be;
b) Create and preserve the ecology of the area;
c) Develop high-end industries and cultivate new kinetic energy’
d) Provide high-quality public services;
e) Build a green transportation network which is convenient for users;
f) Push institutional reform to motivate market vitality;
g) Establish a new platform for foreign cooperation;
 

Eco-protection is to be made the top priority during construction so as to preserve some of the existing components of the ecosystem such as the Baiyangdian freshwater wetlands. Renowned building and architecture experts and urban planners are to be brought in to design and build the city, which is expected to provide the template for future urban construction. Local authorities have been tasked with preventing illegal purchases and construction projects.
 

Two expressways, the G45 and G18, connect Xiongan to Beijing and Tianjin. The road network will be expanded, and a rail system will also be built to connect Tianjin, Beijing and Shijiazhuang (Hebei's capital). This will put Xiong’an within 30 minutes of each of these cities.
 

There are also plans to connect the new town by air with the construction of the Beijing Daxing International Airport.

BT 201803 Feature 04 Xiong’an New Area as a Crucial Strategy for the Millennium

The Chinese government states that the Xiong’an New Area will be a crucial strategy for the next Millennium. This may not be far from the truth, as President Xi Jinping is championing the cause of development of this area personally. The Xiong’an New Area will be built to function like the special economic zones that currently exist in Shenzhen and Shanghai Pudong, but with better efficiency in terms of infrastructure and management of human and material resources. The Xiong’an New Area is going to be built to serve as a model of how to manage population expansion effectively, as well as serve to showcase how human development, resource utilization and environment can co-exist in perfect harmony.
 

This will therefore be the model of urbanization and industrialization of China as we head deeper into the Millennium.

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