Consolidating Strengths in Tongzhou to Create a Modern, International New City

Oct 18, 2010, 09:00 ET from Beijing Fang Di Institute of Economic Development

BEIJING, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- After successfully hosting the Olympic Games and China's 60th anniversary celebration, Beijing has entered a new stage of development and set the strategic goal of establishing itself as a world-class city. It is clearly said in the minutes of the 7th Plenary Meeting of the 10th Beijing Municipal People's Congress that "it is of the essence to consolidate our strengths in Tongzhou, and to leverage resources both from within China and from abroad to create a modern, international new city that meets the development needs of the capital as soon as possible." As an important part of this world-class city, Tongzhou finds itself at a turning point in its history, entering a period during which the district faces the challenge of realizing what could be characterized as a quantum leap in its development.

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At the 6th session of the 4th Tongzhou District People's Congress held recently, Tongzhou unveiled its plan to make the Modern International New City take shape in some ten years, and gradually become a new center that decentralizes business functions of the central urban area, improves consumption functions, complements international functions and integrates cultural functions, as well as a forerunning, experimental and demonstration district as Beijing strives to establish itself as a world-class city, in an attempt to create an incredible city to live, which combines humanistic care, civilization, cultural attraction and harmony, and where people feel happy.

A feast of wisdom: leaders and experts advise on development of the New City

Recently, at the Forum on Development of Tongzhou Modern International New City amid the Construction of World-Class City, co-organized by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform and the Tongzhou People's Government, more than 300 leaders from national ministries and commissions, municipal government officials, experts and scholars, representatives from municipal commissions, offices and bureaus, business professionals and journalists gathered together to provide suggestions on the development of the Modern International New City through keynote speeches and round table discussions.

At the forum, some experts said it is important to gain a deeper insight into the strategic positioning of Tongzhou Modern International New City in the establishment of Beijing as a world-class city from a broader perspective.

Beijing has entered the advanced stage of urbanization by transforming its development model from centralization to pervasion. Tongzhou Modern International New City should be clearly defined as a sub-center of Beijing to play an active role in the urban functions of the capital's central area, especially the transfer of business and cultural functions, while increasing its efforts to develop and improve new functions as required for a world-class city, in order to relieve the increasingly severe spatial structure problems arising from the urban development of Beijing and enhance the capital city's overall carrying capacity. The Beijing Municipal Government needs to play a bigger role in the construction of Tongzhou Modern International New City, which is positioned as the capital's sub-center, to realize joint forces.

The strategic planning for Tongzhou Modern International New City should be taken to the national level by taking into account the development of China's regional patterns. Beijing is establishing itself as a world-class city not only to consolidate its position in the global city system and improve the competitiveness and international status of China, but also to exert a far-reaching influence on regional development. As a result, the strategic planning for Tongzhou Modern International New City should be based on the overall development of Jing-Jin-Ji and Bohai Sea Rim regions rather than solely on the development of Beijing, and should also be taken to the national level by shouldering the responsibility of seeking to establish a 21st century next-generation city with Chinese characteristics.

Global vision should be included into the strategic planning for Tongzhou Modern International New City. A world-class city belongs to the first echelon of the global city system and serves as an important engine for a country's participation in international competition and cooperation. In addition, a world-class city is typically home to major headquarters of multinational companies and large financial institutions and acts as a hub of global economic activities and resource allocations. As an integral part of Beijing's development into a world-class city, Tongzhou Modern International New City should become a key "nerve cell" in the central nervous system of the global economy.

Some leaders attending the conference put forward that three concepts, "low carbon", "green" and "sustainability", should be taken into consideration during planning and construction of Tongzhou Modern International New City.

Sustainable development is the apparent feature of the urban development in the 21st century. Tongzhou Modern International New City is advised to coincide with the world-class standards and learn the successful experience from Freiburg, Germany during construction, which is a proven ecological city in the world, to extend the sustainable development concept into such aspects as the sense of happiness of residents, social improvement, the natural landscape, the local unique industries, the cultural texture and CO2 emission reduction. Tongzhou should aggressively develop a green, low-carbon and circular economy and aggressively form a resource-effective and environment-friendly society to realize a win-win situation of social development and ecological benefits, developing the district as a new city showing attraction of next-generation cities in the 21st century.

Scientific and technological innovation is the important support and source of sustainable urban development. Tongzhou Modern International New City is the pilot of Beijing to establish a world-class city, to aggressively explore a way of construction and drive and support comprehensive, harmonious and sustainable urban economic development led by the following points of scientific and technological innovation: firstly, drive a strategic shift of the economic development from the momentum-driven mode to the innovation-driven mode as well as from low carbon emission-led industrial systems and consumption modes, to reduce pressures from the urban development on the energy supply and the environmental protection. Secondly, to continuously improve the ability to integrate superior resources at home and abroad, attract talents worldwide and to aggressively introduce into colleges, scientific research institutions and venture investment institutions to establish research centers and innovation bases to provide power supports for the development of leading industries. Thirdly, to make up moderately advanced strategies to develop the district aimed at the world-class cities beyond the next 30 years, to take the lead in establishing an intelligent city.

Experts advised Tongzhou Modern International New City to form the modern industrial system focusing on the main line to accelerate shifts of economic development modes.

The industrial development of Tongzhou Modern International New City will focus on high profile, headquarters, low-carbon and service-oriented development. Firstly, to make tertiary industry development a priority and to accelerate the development of the service industry; to support the development of such high-end sectors such as financial, information, service and commercial services; to aggressively develop the leisure services industry and planning and establishing canal culture-themed parks, as well as to make full use of the district's advantage so that it combines its canal culture, the capital culture and the Yanzhao culture to accelerate the development of creative industries. Secondly, to aggressively develop the headquarters economy. The more advanced headquarters economy a country and a region develops, the stronger ability it has to draw resources from regional and international areas of competition. Beijing faces a shortage of natural resources and energy, so its industrial development goal is not just how many products it produces, but also how many products with the right pricing, how many sales channels and how many self-owned brands it has, all of which are functions of corporate headquarters. In this sense, Tongzhou Modern International New City should create conditions to attract global 500 companies to settle their regional headquarters and functional headquarters, along with the top 500 enterprises in China as well as large enterprises in the Ring Bohai Economic Circle to settle their headquarters, northern headquarters and functional headquarters. Thirdly, to drive the manufacturing industry's modernization and green development and to cultivate and develop strategic and emerging industries, optimizing the economic infrastructure. The new city will insist on a high starting point and high standards for its new projects and to adopt newer and stricter pollution discharge standards than other cities, to ensure quality of the projects.

In addition, the new city will go on with park-oriented industrial development to reduce production costs, improve the utilization level of public facilities, increase the utilization efficiency of energy and resources, enhance pollution prevention and treatment and enhance cooperation among enterprises through the co-management of economic and environmental issues.

Some leaders said that the district should allow farmers to benefit from the construction of Tongzhou Modern International New city.

Tongzhou is the new urban development district of Beijing, in which the agriculture sector takes some proportions in the regional development. Tongzhou Modern International New City should play a leading role in driving integrated urban-rural development. It is also advised to aggressively realize breakthroughs in land use rights transfers and to increase venture and investment capitals for farmers during the regional urbanization process. In addition, the district should form new integrated and harmonious urban-rural relationships and lead farmers to change modes of production and living, to better and continuously become rich, turning into next-generation citizens via urban construction.

Scientific and orderly construction of Tongzhou New City with breakthrough planning

Government officials of Tongzhou district said at the forum that planning serves as a very important guidance for the development of Tongzhou into a modern, international new city. As a result, the local government invited leading planning experts from both home and abroad to demonstrate and deepen the New City planning, in a move to take advantage of the most advanced international urban design concepts while drawing on some successful cases concerning construction of the world's major cities. Located at the junction of five rivers at the source of the canal, the planned central area of the new city now covers an area of 48 square km and brings together cultural relics and historic sites, such as the Lantern Lighting Pagoda and the Food Inspection House, and is also a place where a number of main access roads, including the Tongzhou-Yanjiao express highway and Tongshun Road cross, reflecting an export-oriented development strategy as well as ecological characteristics and historical and cultural connotations.

The new planning focuses on the junction of five rivers at the core of the canal, with the Beiyun and Tonghui rivers planned as axis, a water zone and Yuantoudao as the landscape center and southern and northern commercial zones as the industrial base of the city. A high-rise building group is planned in the southern and northern commercial zones while low-density zones are put in place around Yuantoudao and the Lantern Lighting Pagoda in view of protective development of the canal culture.

Three features of the new planning will include: 1) Water ecology. The new planning pays special attention to water to fully demonstrate the ecological characteristics of Tongzhou, which has many rivers and substantial water resources. According to the new planning, a unique water zone will be created around the Lantern Lighting Pagoda, and Binhe Road along the canal will be moved out, with part of it to be built as underpass, so as to provide the biggest possible water space for the city's buildings. In addition, in line with the construction of the central area, special water planning has been developed to strengthen water environment governance and improve the quality of water, bringing a splendid landscape with clean water and green banks. 2) Low-carbon environmental protection. Tongzhou has taken the lead in developing a low-carbon urban indicator system used in various aspects of urban construction. For instance, ground traffic design, which meets the requirements of pedestrians, bikes and buses, uses clean fuels to the largest extent possible, helping to create a green transport network. As for energy use, new methods of energy supply are widely utilized, including solar energy, natural gas supply systems combining cooling, heat and power, and water source heat pump systems. Green construction materials and scientific achievements, such as roof greening and energy saving design, are widely used for construction design. Advanced technologies, including water resource and rain water recycling systems, vacuum waste collection systems and intelligent grids, are used to enhance the application of low-carbon technologies in an urban management. 3) Integrated use of underground space. The underground space of the central area will utilize a three dimensional development model, with motor roads, railway lines, transport hubs, parking lots and supporting facilities to be planned as a whole, in order to improve interconnection and intercommunication among underground spaces, creating an unblocked underground corridor. In the meantime, urban pipe gallery technology has been adopted for comprehensive arrangement of the municipal underground network, which will be under unified management and maintenance to avoid repeat repairs of roads.

About Beijing Fang Di Institute of Economic Development

Beijing Fang Di Institute of Economic Development is a social science research institute with support from the Beijing Federation of Social Scientists as the industry leader. Fang Di, which is led by Zhao Hong, its researcher and a State Council Special Allowance receiver, creator of the theory of China Headquarters Economy, director of the Institute of Economics at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences and assistant director of Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, has a talented research team of over 60 researchers, associate researchers and senior consultants. It has completed more than 160 research projects commissioned by the National Social Science Fund, the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as municipal, district and county governments, including Beijing, Chongqing, Nanjing and Qingdao. It has received provincial- and ministerial-level rewards, including Excellent Achievements in Philosophy and Social Science of Beijing and Award for Science and Technology Progress of Beijing.

SOURCE Beijing Fang Di Institute of Economic Development