China doesn’t do things by halves. Take the Three Gorges Dam for instance – it’s the largest hydroelectric project in the world, has cost $39 billion to built and could be responsible for the country’s earthquakes. Despite the perils that come withe the grandiose, this still hasn’t stopped the Chinese government from considering a plan to create a city the size of Switzerland (that’s roughly the size of New Jersey and Vermont combined). So how would they do this remarkable feat? Easy, combine nine of the country’s biggest cities.

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The plan, announced in state media, would unite several existing cities in the prosperous Pearl River Delta region, including Guangzhou (12 million), Shenzhen (8.6 million), Dongguan (6.9 million) and six smaller cities. Together, these cities already account for about 10% of China’s economy.

All these cities lie around the Pearl River Delta, and unsurprisingly the plan has been dubbed the “Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One” scheme. The ambitious plan will see China attempt to combine over 150 major infrastructure projects including transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks over the next six years. This alone is expected to cost £190 billion. On top of this, an express rail line is will be constructed to connect the mega-city with nearby Hong Kong. Twenty-nine rail lines, totaling 3,100 miles, are to be constructed to reduce rail journeys around the urban area between the different city centers to a maximum of one hour of journey. Hospitals and schools will be improved as a result of the development.

“The idea is that when the cities are integrated, the residents can travel around freely and use the health care and other facilities in the different areas,” said Ma Xiangming, the chief planner at the Guangdong Rural and Urban Planning Institute and a senior consultant on the project. He continued, “It will help spread industry and jobs more evenly across the region and public services will also be distributed more fairly.”

On the green side, pollution, which is a major problem in the Pearl River Delta due to the major industry cities, is to be addressed with an “united policy.”

The long-term plan for China is to move ever greater numbers into its cities, creating some city zones with 50 million to 100 million people and “small” city clusters of 10 million to 25 million.

via The Telegraph

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