The new city is set to absorb 4.5 million people.
China’s government recently announced that they plan to start development of a new city called Xiongan New Area (SEZ) just 62 miles southwest of bustling Beijing in an effort to combat the rapidly growing population that is wreaking havoc on the major city. Currently, Beijing’s air and traffic pollution is so significant that the government has been forced to turn to a $290 billion project that will hopefully reduce the congestion of the metropolis.
SEZ is set to be three times the size of New York City and President Xi Jinping hopes to transform the region known for its orchards and lotus flowers into a hub of technology and innovation that will attract millions of people. In an effort to encourage people to move south to occupy this new space, many Beijing schools, markets, research institutions, and hospitals will be moved to SEZ.
Ever since the announcement on April 1 (which was not an April Fool’s prank), people have been rushing to the region to lay claims to property and business leases so they can secure spots while it’s still cheap, though the announcement caused the prices to double already. Property sales had to be suspended because of this boom, but the people that must stay in Beijing because it’s the nation’s capital are likely breathing a sigh of relief over this sign of reduced congestion in their city.
Authorities have taken countless measures to reduce traffic and air pollution over the years, with road space rationing to restrict use to only certain license plates or pollution alerts to force drivers to commute for less time. Though the effect was positive, it was minuscule in comparison to the effect that people transitioning to SEZ will have.
The new city is estimated to absorb about 4.5 million people over 15 years after it’s been developed, although many say that it will have to accommodate those new residents within 10 years. This will likely result in a lot of growing pains, such as rapid infrastructure development and a hesitancy to move so far away.
The government is hopeful that this will not only help Beijing and its residents but build the economy, which is debt-heavy and unevenly distributed because of the major cities and sleepy rural areas. While some are doubting that this plan will be successful, Chinese citizens are eagerly anticipating this new city’s development.