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  • China’s Experiment In Urbanization

    To develop its frontier, the Chinese central government in 1999 announced its “Go West” campaign, which some compare to the Marshall Plan. Chongqing, dubbed “Chicago on the Yangtze,” was the big beneficiary of Beijing’s binge spending on infrastructure and just about everything else in its western areas.

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    Each day, 1,370 people arrive in Chongqing, China, most destitute and looking for any kind of work.  Some join the bangbang army, composed of the poorest migrants carrying heavy loads on their shoulders suspended from bamboo poles—bang bangs—in local parlance.  The porters earn about three dollars a day as they repeatedly climb and descend the city’s steep hills.  Others find work as cleaners.  Menial jobs are always available.

    At first, most new arrivals make just subsistence wages.  But they come to this city, once the capital of China, because they are able to earn enough to send a few yuan home to families still in the countryside.  And as they better their lot, migrants have fueled the river town’s rise, making it the world’s most populous city at some 33 million souls.   There are only 37 countries on the planet that have more people than this metropolis.

    Welcome to Chongqing on the upper reaches of the Yangtze, China’s longest waterway.  Here, a roaring economy means that no one needs to stay poor for long.  Indeed, the city’s officials believe they can avoid the fates of Rio and other cities discussed in this Forbes Megacities project.  “There will be no slums in Chongqing, unlike India or Brazil,” says Huang Qifan, a vice mayor of the city.  “Rapid economic growth means farmers can quickly find work, so they won’t live in poor conditions.”

    Chongqing is on a roll.  Once part of Sichuan province, it was carved off in 1997 to become what Beijing calls a provincial-level city, joining Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin in that category.  Chongqing is the only such administrative unit in the country’s vast—and undeveloped—west.

    To develop its frontier, the Chinese central government in 1999 announced its “Go West” campaign, which some compare to the Marshall Plan.  Chongqing, dubbed “Chicago on the Yangtze,” was the big beneficiary of Beijing’s binge spending on infrastructure and just about everything else in its western areas.

    Read More:

    http://blogs.forbes.com/megacities/2011/03/28/chongqing-chinas-lab-experiment-in-urbanization/

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    Filed Under: Global Business

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