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Shanghai Limits Population to 25 Million
Fight Against "Big City Disease"

Shanghai Limits Population to 25 Million

he Shanghai city government describes "big city disease" as a culmination of all the problems that arise from over-populated areas, such as environmental pollution, traffic congestion, lack of public services and unequal access to human necessities.

In the end of 2017, the city government of Shanghai, China, announced in their newly drafted "Shanghai Master Plan 2017-2035" that they would be actively trying to cap the total number of residents living in the city at 25 million by 2035. Their reasoning, to manage "big city disease," or essentially curb what happens when too many people live in too close of a proximity to each other.

The master plan reads as follows, "In order to mitigate the contradiction between rapid population growth and resource and environment restrictions, Shanghai will control permanent population within 25 million persons by 2020, and set population size of around 25 million persons as the goal for permanent population regulation by 2035."

This decree is identical to another population limitation enacted by the Chinese government, which was set for Beijing a month before mandating a total population of 23 million by 2020. The master plan also mentions that Shanghai is experiencing an aging population, lower birth rates and internationalization.

One way that Chinese authorities hope to achieve this population cap is by relocating "some government agencies, state-owned companies and other "non-core" functions of the Chinese capital" to a "newly created city about 100 kilometers south of Beijing," according to one news source.

The local government also plans to have low-income housing account for 8% - 10% of the total amount of houses in the city. Additionally, as defined in the master plan, Shanghai aims to establish a park space per capita of 7.6 square meters per person, double what it was in 2015.

Skeptics of this legislative move argue that Shanghai's population has already surpassed 25 million and that the goal is too aggressive. Reportedly, just a few days after this master plan was released, tens of thousands of migrant workers were relocated out of the city due to their buildings not meeting fire safety standards.

As of writing this article, Shanghai has a population of approximately 24.18 million with an average population density of 2,059 people per square kilometer reaching as high as 3,854 people per square kilometer in urban areas.

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February 26, 2020, 9:27 am PDT

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