Een nieuwe visie op de stedelijke toekomst van China

PEKING – Rond de 100 miljoen Chinezen leven in extreme armoede, en ruwweg 275 miljoen hebben minder dan 2 dollar per dag te besteden. De overweldigende meerderheid van China’s armen leeft in landelijke gebieden en de meesten van hen hopen op een beter leven in de steden, waar beter betaalde banen makkelijker te vinden zijn. De laatste 35 jaar hebben een ontzagwekkende half miljard Chinezen deze stap al gezet, en vergrootten zo het stedelijke aandeel in de bevolking van het land van minder dan 20% in 1980 naar 50% nu. Er wordt verwacht dat in 2030 70% van alle Chinezen in de stad woont.

De Chinese urbanisatie heeft zonder twijfel de indrukwekkende groei en snelle economische transformatie van het land ondersteund. De steden hebben goedkope en overvloedig aanwezige arbeid geboden, terwijl lokale overheden gretig zijn geweest om investeringen aan te trekken en banen te creëren.

Maar er begint overbelasting op te treden. Het Chinese groeimodel, gedreven door investeringen en export, komt zonder brandstof te zitten. Stedelijke wildgroei en verstopping verspreiden zich, wat de onrust onder boeren doet groeien die zich niet genoeg gecompenseerd voelen voor het verlies van hun land, dat van levensbelang is als onderpand voor de schulden van lokale overheden (die nu oplopen tot 30% van het bbp).

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