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Sustainable Urban Planning Emphasized
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The Ministry of Construction yesterday urged local governments to take "sustainable development" as their guiding philosophy for urban planning.

Minister of Construction Wang Guangtao said the development of cities should be based on harmony with resources and the environment, and never threaten the lives of future generations.

Earlier, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan told a State Council conference on Wednesday: "Because of some city planners' short-sightedness, problems such as blind expansion, improper development and environmental pollution are emerging in some areas."

Speaking at the National City Planning Amendment Conference organized by the ministry yesterday, Wang noted that overall city plans provide the legal foundations for a city's development, and provide a guardian for the city's public security and residents' public interests.

According to a report issued by the ministry, by the end of 2003, the Chinese mainland had 660 cities.

A total of 37 mayors arrived in Beijing and exchanged their lessons and experiences in city planning at the meeting.

"A new city plan is absolutely necessary and urgent," said Yin Weizhen, vice-mayor of Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

Yin said the city's old plan, which was drafted in 1995, did not embody the concept of sustainable development and is hindering the city's development.

For example, the old planning artificially concentrated most of the city's business plazas in a small area in the city's Hankou District, causing unnecessary pressure on traffic as shoppers flooded into the area from other parts of the city across a few bridges on the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers.

Xiang Bingjun, chief planner of the Planning Bureau of Suzhou, an ancient city in Jiangsu Province famous for its classic Chinese gardens, said his city had taken steps to realize sustainable development.

Minister Wang said the country is to set up a system of urban and rural planning supervision.

Under this system, a supervisor designated by the provincial government has the right to veto city government's construction projects which violate the city plan.

(China Daily July 22, 2005)

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