Beijing’s growing pains

5 Sep

Beijing is a massive city of over 20 million, the most heavily populated one in the world’s most populated nation, and its population is still growing. Beijing is a magnet for all kinds of people from around the nation, whether it be white-collar professionals, media people, artists or hairdressers. It’s no surprise that this has become a serious headache for city leaders and residents, who have to deal with things like terrible traffic and overcrowded subways and hospitals. In terms of things like air quality, traffic and community life, Beijing can be downright haphazard and life is not easy for a lot of regular people.
That’s why the huge population is also an indictment of the resource inequality in the nation, as Beijing, being the nation’s capital, has education, medical care, transit and other social resources that heavily outweigh those of surrounding provinces especially Hebei.

Beijing’s population issues are also an indication of mismanagement within the city. After all, Tokyo, as the article says, has a larger population but is renowned for its efficiency. Having vibrant satellite towns and districts is a natural aspect of many major cities (Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto, Taipei, and so on), but not so for Beijing. While Beijing covers a huge area, it’s fair to say a large proportion of its people is concentrated in the central areas within the inner ring roads and so are its social resources, companies and government offices. The government is trying to move a few industries to Hebei as well as get some people to move out, but it is hard to tell if this will lead to significant changes since the more attractive resources and businesses will still stay in Beijing.

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