12 Apr 2011

The Chinese government is advancing plans to officially combine nine southern cities into the world’s largest urban area.

The scheme is called “Turn the Pearl River Delta into One” and will merge the cities of:

  • Guangzhou (15 mill)
  • Shenzhen (13.3  mill)
  • Dongguan (8.3  mill)
  • Foshan (5.4 mill)
  • Huizhou (4 mill)
  • Zhaoqing (3.9 mill)
  • Jiangmen (3.8 mill)
  • Zhongshan (1.4 mill)
  • Zhuhai (1.3 mill)

This would create a megacity with a population of more than 50 million – making it the biggest urban agglomeration in the world.

Such proposals are clearly challenging the notion of what is a “city”.

The PRD (the Pearl River Delta) is an economic unit that already accounts for a tenth of China’s economy and a quarter of the country’s trade by value. Government officials and private developers have already linked the nine cities with roads, tunnels and bridges but planners would like to see even more connecting infrastructure.

Another even bolder scheme is to create a ‘Bohai Economic Rim’ with up to 260 million people centred on Beijing and Tianjin.

Such proposals are clearly challenging the notion of what is a “city”.  As we move deeper into the ‘Chinese Century’ such recalibrations of traditional definitions of space, place and economy may become more common place.

To view a article discussing the Chinese Government’s grand plans for the PRD click here