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Beijing: Going all out for "healthy urban environment"

(People's Daily)  Hu Zexi  2016-03-06 08:18

"Beijing is going all out for fitness and health, and going all out for function easing development," Beijing Party Secretary Guo Jinlong commented in a People's Daily on op-ed on urban governance reforms.
 
In 2015, the year Party Secretary Guo wrote in the article, Beijing’s population growth slowed in both absolute and percentage terms compared to the previous year, meeting the city’s targets. Beijing has not however seen its economic vitality diminishneddiminished. In 2015, total GDP reached nearly 2.3 trillion yuan, with the service industry accounting for 79.8% of output. Urban and rural residents’ incomes rose faster than GDP growth.
 
While the policitalpolitical center of China, Beijing has in recent years taken on a growing number of additional functions, in the process of experiencing population growth, traffic congestion, air pollution, rising real estate prices, and increased social governance challenges. “Beijing is designed along a typical ‘“single-center’ ” urban layout. Most of its functions are concentrated in the heart of the city, which has brought enormous traffic pressure, efficiency reductions and, deteriorating air quality."  Gu Shengzu, an urbanization expert said. He has taken to calling such problems "big-city disease".
 
Taihu Town, Tongzhou District of Beijing, capital of China, recently built 25 public bicycle rental centers to ease traffic congestion and address issues including insufficient parking spots and environmental pollution. The first batch of 1,000 bikes covered around 80 percent of the town. The bikes rented in those centers can also be returned in the city area.
 (Photo: Official Website of the People’s Government of Tongzhou District of Beijing)
 
In February 2014, President Xi Jinping required Beijing to control its population size and enhance regional balanced population distribution .  According to the "Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Cooperative Development Plan" released in 2015, the total resident population of Beijing to be held to 23 million by 2020, and the numbers of residents of Beijing’s six downtown districts should decrease by 15 percent between 2014 and 2020. Beijing also set a goals for significantly easing traffic congestion and further improving air and water quality. At the same time, Beijing began to accelerate the construction of administrative sub-center in the suburb of Tongzhou, and is planning to gradually move part or all of the Beijing’s municipal administrative institutions to Tongzhou.
 
As Party Secretary Guo also mentioned in the article, Beijing will continue to further strengthen its role as an international communication center, and strive to become a world-class harmony habitat capital.