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The Problems and Causes of China's Spatial Planning System from the Perspective of Central and Local Relations (No.153, 2018)


By Xuan Xiaowei, Research Department of Development Strategy and Regional Economy, DRC

Research Report, No.153, 2018 (Total 5428) 2018-9-13

Abstract: Currently, China’s space planning system has many prominent problems such as excessive planning quantity, planning conflicts and insufficient binding force on plannings. The formation and development of China’s spatial planning system is largely rooted in the evolution of the relationship between central and local authorities. From the perspective of the relationship between central authorities and local authorities, the deep reasons for the problems in China’s spatial planning system are: 1. the “same structure between central and local departments” has formed a vertical pattern of “same structure from top to bottom”, making it difficult to solve the problem of “conflicts in planning ” at the horizontal level; (2) The “sharing of responsibilities” has resulted in unclear boundaries of responsibilities of governments at all levels in space planning, poor hierarchy of the space planning system, and prominent problems of “one plan fits all”; (3) “decision-making at higher level and execution at lower level” leads to the difficulty in realizing “the binding force on higher level” and “flexibility at lower level”; (4) Under the “local competition” mode, spatial planning has become a tool of games between governments at all levels, and the country’s division of powers in spatial planning has fallen into the dilemma of “either centralization or devolution”.

Key words: the relationship between central and local authorities; planning system; spatial planning power