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London’s Experience in Treating Big-city Maladies during Post-war Period and Relevant Enlightenments for China



By Research Group, DRC

One of the main tasks in promoting the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and treating big-city maladies is to launch projects to relieve Beijing of functions non-essential to its role as China’s capital. London once faced the similar problems and difficulties as present Beijing. After World War II, London successfully completed the city governance, and gained valuable management experience through reconstruction.

First, the experience of optimizing the urban spatial structure is to make a regional planning, define the boundary lines for urban growth and construct a larger scale metro. Regional planning is the basis of optimization and defining the city growth lines is the key measure to control the sprawl of urban center. Only larger satellite cities with some distance from London can ease the concentration of population and industry.

Second, the experience of promoting the functional dispersal and industrial transformation is to improve the standard of environmental protection and give play to the role of the market. London had taken measures to realize the dispersal of traditional industry through legislative procedures to improve the environmental standard, avoid the weakening of city functions after the dispersal of manufacturing through reforms and encourage the development of financial and creative industries.

Third, the experience of improving the urban management level is using the economic means to regulate the behavior of relevant departments and promote multi-cooperation. Efforts were made to vigorously develop the public transport to alleviate traffic jams, and encourage travel by non-motorized vehicles. In order to realize the regional equalization of public services, it is not only necessary to give play to the role of central government spending, but also necessary to encourage non-governmental entities to participate in relevant projects. The essential issue of environmental governance is to rationalize the rights and duties of various stakeholders, and ensure the implementation of related measures.

London’s experience is of valuable reference to the city layout of Beijing. First, with regard to spatial structure optimization, it is necessary to transform the overall urban planning of Beijing into a metropolitan planning bolstered by legislative measures. In light of the present conditions, we need to encourage the participation of non-governmental entities, and build green belts as soon as possible. We need to construct several satellite cities far away from Beijing with larger size and adequate functions. Second, the government needs to formulate some policies to restrict the increase of non-capital function and encourage industrial transformation, follow market rules, and adopt relevant suggestions raised by industrial sectors. Third, with regard to improving the urban management level, it is suggested to focus on the economic regulation, and attach importance to multi-pronged collaboration.


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