Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Do you agree that the challenges facing China are greater than New Zealand?

Cities in China have undergone significant change in the past two to three decades. Discuss challenges and issues facing planning in China in relation to the area you are researching for your journal article.

Do you agree that the challenges facing China are greater than New Zealand?
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Please explain your choice in "Comments" below.


  1. There are no posts on this page but there are two on the page with the poll results. Wee bit unsure if we're supposed to post it here or the other page, but so long as its all down on one page it should be swell yea.

  2. With the ever increasing shift of the chinese people from the rural to the urban there are massive amounts of planning issues that need to be resolved which is a massive task due to the sheer size of the country and population. This also creates enormous possibilities to produce first world cities all over china if they take on the planning tasks affectivly and with the future in mind. this is very different to Austrailia which already has the majority of the population in urban areas and the cites are being fine tuned not created. China are very different although the countries are of a comparable size

  3. The planning issues that China is facing at the moment are almost incomprehensible compared to those of New Zealand. China has been increasingly influenced by the Western world and their ideologies, while trying to preserve their traditions. There is tension between the socialist ideologies that still exist and the post-reform ideologies surrounding marketisation and privatisation. Moreover, as Kai noted in one of the lectures, there are many traditional Chinese ways of living that may actually be more ‘sustainable’ and have a lower environmental impact. However, as China’s cities are rapidly urbanising, there is the danger of losing these more traditional approaches. I think planning is more politically-driven in China than in New Zealand, which in terms of planning, brings another level of complexity to the country.
    In terms of transportation, which I am researching for my journal article, China’s car ownership is on the rise. There is sprawl around China’s cities and new motorways are not helping. It seems desirable for many to live in ‘gated communities’, outside of these cities – similar to the ‘suburban dream’ of the West in the 1950s. Will China repeat the many ‘mistakes’ that Western countries have made in regards to urban sprawl?

  4. Tsz Ning CHUNG 4648015August 17, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    In examing the planning challenges and issues facing planning and planners in China, one begins to see that they are greater than New Zealand. With the post 1978 economic reform and socialist development period, China has been undergoing a process of rapid urbanisation moreso Westernalisation as termed in Ma, L (2006) as the Western-impact China-response paradigm. Much of the landscaping as noted in Dr Kai Gu's lecture are imported and poses challenges of blending in with the traditional Chinese urban landscape. Another challenge at hand, much related to the first one, is the preservaton of historical settlements, areas, historical urban landscapes for example that of the Forbidden City in Beijing which gives local identity and a sense of place which are to be balanced with the skyscrapers and expressways that are dominating the new urban landscape in China as seen in Pingyao and Guangzhou. The new urban landscape is resulting in rapid expansion of urban build-up areas that are introducing the planning issue of urban sprawl in China. This last issue is the focus of my journal article focusing on Hong Kong's planning approach against urban sprawl constraint by land scarcity.It seems that China's transitional urban environment is borrowing or reflects some of the approaches used in Hong Kong for urban containment.

  5. I agree the urban planning challenges facing in China are greater than the ones in New Zealand, especially in population growth and transportation management aspects. During the research for my journal article, an interesting issue draws my attention. Take Guangzhou, China as an example, before most Guangzhou citizens rely heavily on cycling and public transportations, as they are more affordable than owning cars. Thus, most main roads in the city have designated cycle lanes, with plantings separating motor vehicle and bicycle lanes. I personally think this is a very sustainable approach, as it provides a safe cycling environment, which indirectly encourages people to cycle more.

    However, due to the significant car ownership increase in the past decade, the government developed a series of policies around two years ago, banning cycling in many of the main streets within CBD. Many of those cycle lanes are now used for bus or other motor vehicles. As we all know, many countries in the world, including New Zealand, are now promoting greener transportation, e.g. cycling. It would be interesting to know how sustainability can be achieved in Guangzhou while green cycling is discouraged by the governors.

    Link to the photo

  6. I think the challenges facing China are far greater. The trend where more and more people move into urban areas creates significant difficulties, particularly when the size of the population of China is taken into account. It is also interesting to consider what will happen, with such a large amount of people moving to the cities, will there be a high enough quantity of food being produced in order to be able to continue to feed the population?

    Keeping up with the demand for housing and other amenities would also be hugely difficult. It is also challenging to try and prevent the degradation of the cultural identity of the cities and of China as a whole and not be overly influenced by Western ideologies. To try do this and to create first world cities at the same time would be extremely complex and challenging.

  7. The issues which are facing China are far greater than the issues facing New Zealand simply due to their significantly larger population base. This puts a far greater strain on resources. It also appears that there is far less emphasis on the environment and the effects of industry. Often we see news reports on how people living near factories in China are sick with cancer and other illnesses.

    China is also faced with becoming increasingly weternised, thus car ownership has gone up and urban sprawl is evident. This could have disastrous effects on global carbon levels.

    In the coming years China will face extreme challenges in the way it develops. The whole world needs to be concerned with issues facing China as ultimately they are going to effect the entire globe.

  8. I believe China has far greater challenges. Firstly purely because of the huge population. For example Beijing already accomodates over 14 million people, filled with 20 storey residential buildings, thereofre it is increasingly challenging to continue to accomodate rapid growth. On the other hand the Chinese economy is required to continue growing so that individuals can achieve the baseline of quality living conditions, while this meets pressure with international environmental standards. ;)

  9. I agree with the statement that the challenges facing China are greater than New Zealand for three main reasons.
    Firstly, China’s population is approximately 307 times the population of New Zealand, covering land only 35 times the total land area of New Zealand. The sheer population density of China means that good planning decisions are vital to the success of cities.
    Secondly, urban planning in China is a government function focused on efficiency rather than equity, with decisions made by government officials rather than representatives of the people. In western countries such as New Zealand, there is a significant emphasis on public participation in planning decisions.
    Thirdly, China’s rapid rate of urbanisation would have been associated with the large consumption of resources and production of waste. Therefore, China faces a far greater challenge of environmental management, more specifically that of waste management than New Zealand.
    This is relevant to the research conducted for my article as I am focusing on the automated waste management techniques of Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm.

  10. Challenges that china faces with regards to urban sustainability are far greater than New Zealand. The majority of the problem lies within China's massive population where approximately 1/5 of the worlds population reside (1.3 billion). This population puts massive strain on infrastructure and natural resources not to mention the high level of adverse effects it has on the four well being which contribute to sustainability.
    Furthermore, China is considered a developing country with currently about 45% of its population living in rural areas. With more and more of this population moving to urban environments the pressures currently felt within these environments will only continue to increase upon what is already a fragile state of affairs.

  11. I don't think a direct comparison can be made between the challenges facing China and the challenges facing New Zealand in regards to urban sustainability. These two countries have extremely different pressures on them in relation to development. For example China doesn't have public consultation and therefore it has the ability to do things quickly. For example the metro system in Guangzhou is around 5 years old. It is a very comprehensive system and covers a large portion of the city. I think in New Zealand to develop a system as complex as this and in such a short time to meet the needs of its population would practically be impossible.

  12. China’s urban development principles and strategies are derived by the governments and are imposed to the local levels without or with limited public consultations. And the processes of deriving the principles and strategies involved fairly low level of public participation. In my opinion this will be the potential treats to the further sustainable development in all aspects of Chinese cities.
    Public participation has become to be seen as a vital part of addressing environmental problems and bringing about sustainable development. It is generally believed that public participation allows governments to adopt policies and enact laws that are relevant to communities and take into account their need. Also, the Rio Declaration of 1992 principle 10 states that "environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level”
    However, the low public consultation and participation level create the opportunity for the government to enact the laws and lunch an initiative/development quickly and effectively.
    In the past two decades, there were thousands of modern developments in China. In the meantime, large amount of arguments related with environmental and sustainable concerns were arising and those arguments and concerns were always not satisfactorily solved, responded or even announced by the government. (Eg, Three – Gorge Dam Project and recently the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge construction).

  13. A Chinese friend of mine described China in terms of an old computer – the hardware is all there but the software needs updating. Personally considering the massive challenges of physical size, lack of infrastructure challenges to be overcome I am of the opinion that they are doing the best under the circumstances. The task of bringing a somewhat medieval society into the 21st Century can only be achieved by authoritarian process.

    Hopefully China will be able to continue to progress forward and preserve its earlier culture and history having learnt the lessons of its recent tumultuous past (Red Guard era). Because of size and growing influence economic success in China is critical to Asia and the wider world. Planning is playing a major part in this process of both urban and rural development.

    China has planning challenges far in excess of New Zealand, both in scale and complexity. It is an emerging nation in many areas and in most cases the citizens do not appear to have the same human rights as in New Zealand. This helps the Chinese authorities and planners because they do not have to undertake compulsory public consultation processes in order to achieve planning objectives. China has to learn from some less fortunate past experiences of western society in order to avoid making the same mistakes. In some instances this does not appear to be happening, i.e. greenhouse gas emissions. Their argument that sustainability constraints that the international community wish to impose will impact adversely upon their progress seem unable to be substantiated considering their G.D.P continues to expand at greater than 5% above most of the rest of the world.

  14. There is no doubt that the scale of the challenges and issues facing chinese planners is far greater than their counterparts in New Zealand. However I feel it can be quite hard to compare experiences from both countries due to the differences in challenges they both face. New Zealands planning process has alot more red tape to work through than China, in regards to consultation processes and the like.

    The challenges China faces such as the huge migration into urban areas gives the country a unique chance to experiment with how to overcome these issues. It will be intereseting to be able to look back in a couple of decades and see how successful they have been.

  15. I agree with Emma that it is difficult to make a direct comparison with the challenges and issues facing planners in china and New Zealand.

    However, i think that is would be fair to state the issues planners are facing in china are complex and multi-facet.China faces issues with a growing population including providing affordable housing, creating open space, providing public transport, pollution and overcrowding.
    to be cont

  16. I definitely agree that the challenges facing China are great than NZ. Firstly, China has one of the largest population in the world. The urban areas in China is much more compact and populated than in NZ. Its high population density causes numerous problems in all aspects - environmental, social and cultural, and economic. Demand for resources are also constantly rising at a alarming rate. It will definitely be interesting to see how China will tackle these issues (if it manages to)

  17. .....after our trip to china i felt that i still can't understand and comprehend many of the challenges facing china, and planners in china but was given an insight to the planning system and decision making processes.

    One pressing challenge at the moment that i would like to highlight is heritage conservation and protection. We were able to witness the contrast of old historical areas and new building developments and the rapid rate they are being demolished this was alarming!!!!

  18. I strongly agree challenges facing China are greater than New Zealand. It is based on several differences between China and New Zealand as follows:

    1. Density of population: In China, there is a super large population which is already over 1.3 billion. However, New Zealand's is only occupied a small portion of this number comparing with China.

    2. Demand of Resource: Due to the large population of China, it has lots of problems facing about shortage of resource which include basic living requirement( water, food, etc); transport requirement (petrol, diesel, etc); basic energy requirement (gas, power, etc).

    3. Environmental Issues: In China, it also has a large amount of envrionmental issues, which caused by low education (non-protection of environment sense), large-scale urbanization (from small cities to big cities), industrial and constructional processes (like coal-use power station)

    4. Lack of fundings: Although recently Chinese GDP has been improved, it is still lower too much than Developed countries, even less than New Zealand. Therefore, lots of planning and redevelopment are hard to start or complete. Maybe even it could start, but it will also take a long time to finish.

    Rougly, just based on those problems, China has much more challenges than NZ. Anyway, big population is the priority of problem which is chain-reation with other more problems.