A Fall From Grace Leaves Chongqing's Urban Plans Unresolved

Mostly unmentioned during the very public removal of Chinese leader Bo Xilai was the ambitious urban development program he led in Chongqing. Julia Zhou looks at those efforts and their uncertain future.

Following his masterful transformation of Dalian into a "into a clean, modern metropolis and financial hub" as the city's mayor, Bo Xilai remained vigilant in his efforts at urban transformation when he became Chongqing's leader in 2007. Xilai pushed forward signature environmental and construction projects like "Five Chongqings", "10 big cultural facilities" and efforts to provide social housing for lower income residents, notes Zhou.  

"As one of his "Five Chongqings," a set of programs intended to improve residents' lives, Bo notably spent over $7 billion to turn the municipality – a heavily industrialized, mountainous region comprised of over 30,000 square miles and around 30 million people – into a "green Chongqing." 

One of Bo Xilai's most ambitious efforts may have been his plan for "social housing." In 2010, "Bo planned to put up 800,000 apartments to be rented to low-income individuals, with construction handled by state-owned developers." Zhou adds, "With these buildings located in remote areas and largely devoid of tenants and commerce, the project's success is questionable."

Xilai was ousted from his party seat in March due to malfeasance.  His industrious projects remain works-in-progress as Chongqing moves forward without his commanding presence. 

Full Story: Bo Xilai’s Urban Legacy


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