Reimaginar el futuro urbano de China

BEIJING – Cerca de 100 millones de chinos viven en la pobreza extrema y alrededor de 275 millones gastan menos de $2 al día. La abrumadora mayoría de los pobres de China habitan en áreas rurales y muchos de ellos esperan lograr acceso a una mejor calidad de vida en las ciudades, donde es más fácil encontrar empleos con mejores salarios. De hecho, en las tres y media décadas pasadas, la impresionante cifra de 500 millones de chinos han dado ese paso, elevando con ello la proporción de población urbana del país desde menos de un 20% en 1980 a un 50% hoy en día. Para 2030, se espera que el 70% de los chinos residan en ciudades.

No hay duda de que la urbanización en China ha sido una de las bases del impactante crecimiento y la rápida transformación económica del país. Sus ciudades han tenido terrenos baratos y abundante mano de obra, mientras los gobiernos locales se han mostrado ansiosos por atraer inversiones y crear puestos de trabajo.

Sin embargo, las tensiones se están comenzando a apreciar. China, como modelo de un crecimiento impulsado por la inversión y las exportaciones, está perdiendo fuelle. La expansión descontrolada y la congestión urbanas van en aumento, generando descontento entre los campesinos que sienten que no se les ha compensado suficientemente por la pérdida de sus tierras, que son una fuente vital de garantía de la deuda de los gobiernos locales (que hoy supera el 30% del PIB).

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