Xiongan: China will turn farmland into a Megacity


China has big plans, plans to build Xiongan. A complete new megacity, twice the size of New York City, about 100 kilometres south of Beijing. Goal is to take the pressure of the congested capital Beijing and to replicate the remarkable successes of Shenzhen and Pudong.

The name of the city will be Xiongan, and it will be built completely from scratch in a district that currently mostly consists of farmland and villages. Since the government announced the plans, earlier this month, Xiongan immediately became a hype, and a goldrush started for property in the new economic zone. The government had to stop these property sales as would-be real estate moguls descended immediately on the region after the announcement.

A megaproject, because turning farmland into a city of that size will take enormous effort. The government will build infrastructure like roads and railways, and have state-owned companies to invest heavily in energy, water, construction, and other public services. Goals is that private sector companies will kickstart these projects and step in as well. The amount to be invested to build the city is estimated to be around 580 billion dollars.

Shenzhen and Pudong are examples

Xiongan New Area will be modelled after the successful Shenzhen and Pudong area’s, and the learnings of these projects can be taken along to avoid the same mistakes made again in this project. Secondly, they will need to study the failures made in building the new city of Binhai in Tianjin, a project which consisted of many problems.

The reasons that the government chose for the current geographical location are the following:

  • Xiongan can be reached within a two hour drive from both Beijing and Tianjin.
  • An intercity railway network will connect the three cities by 2020, resulting in a 20 minute commute by train.
  • The new city will create many new jobs, especially for the iron and steel industry, a major source of Beijings air pollution by the way. This industry is facing massive overcapacity.

It is expected that the city will grow from one to five million inhabitants in due time.

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