Shanghai has vowed to build the city into a modern socialist international metropolis of global influence and limit the population to 25 million by 2035, as Chinese experts stressed the need for an optimal population and industrial structure.
Shanghai government on Thursday released the Shanghai Master Plan 2017-35, saying that urban construction should be aimed at building Shanghai into an excellent global city and a socialist cosmopolis.
According to the plan, Shanghai will keep its official permanent population below 25 million by 2020, and set a population target size of about 25 million as the goal for 2035 in order to mitigate contradictions between rapid population growth and limited resources and environmental capacity.
The population of the city was 24.19 million at the end of 2016.
"Land resources and space in Shanghai are very limited. Actually, if the population passed 25 million, the crowded living, traffic and work conditions would largely lower the living quality of residents there," Wang Xiangrong, director of Fudan University's Ecology Research Center and a participant in making the plan, told the Global Times.
It would be difficult for Shanghai to achieve the goal of limiting the population to 25 million, Wang noted, especially with its 8 million floating migrant population.
To better manage the population and avoid Shanghai becoming overloaded, Wang called for optimization of urban space layout, industrial structure and population structure.
Similar population caps have been set in Guangzhou and Beijing. Beijing's population would be limited to 23 million by 2020, the State Council said in a September circular in response to the Beijing Urban Master Plan (2016-35).
Beijing's permanent population was 21.7 million at the end of 2016.
Guangzhou capped its population at 18 million by 2020 from 14 million at the end of 2016.
For Shanghai, priority was also given to environmental protection. More efforts should be made to weed out backward production capacity, reduce pollution, conserve water, protect green space and build a rain-absorbent "sponge city," according to a circular from the State Council in December.
Shanghai also vowed to ensure at least two venues be listed by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage sites and have 10 percent of total employed people working in the cultural sector, according to the plan.
"I hope Shanghai can keep more historical elements while introducing more foreign culture and art into the city. Citizens could be more civilized as well," an 18-year-old Shanghai resident told the Global Times on Thursday. He did not agree to be named.
"In past years, Shanghai had a better economy and many high-rises, but the environment and public services need to catch up," said Shanghai resident Xu Wenchao. "Many residents living in the suburbs cannot enjoy the city yet."