I’ve spent much of the last three years working on transportation finance and planning issues in China, and Reason Foundation now has transportation policy projects up and running in the cities of Chongqing, Xi’an, and Beijing.
This interview below with the Chinese Premier offers a preview of the challenges and opportunities that will unfold at the
December 2009 UN Climate Conference (see http://en.cop15.dk/?gclid=CI-ImOyB8JwCFYwwpAodNSUfjQ)
Here is the interview, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2009-09/14/content_8687301.htm
During my first week in China, I have spoken to dozens of people and toured all over Beijing. I even have a map listing the locations of all of the McDonalds in Beijing. Spatial theorists need to write down a model to explain how a uniform distribution of McDonalds is what we observe.
While I am quite happy to be here, this is not a low cost trip. The flight over was literally a pain in the neck. I'm in trouble with my wife
In my first week here in Beijing, I have spoken to a number of scholars here about climate change. A few observations;
1. China's scholars are thinking about climate change mitigation but I haven't met many talking about adaptation.
This morning I was reading through my daily dose of planning related blogs and dropped in on The Overhead Wire, Jeff Wood's excellent transit soapbox. One of Jeff's most recent posts links to an October 25th Reuters article announcing China's $272 billion dollar investment in new rail infrastructure. Yes, you read that correctly. 272 billion. Can't you see president Hu Jintao bringing his pinky to his lips, à la Dr. Evil?
The McKinsey Global Institute has just published a major report outlining four potential scenarios for urbanization in China.
The main thrust of the report is that China needs to focus less on growing its cities and more on making them efficient and productive. Given the massive levels of capital investment Chinese cities have seen over the last 20 years, it makes sense that the country's urban planners need to find ways to squeeze more capacity out of these systems. After all, as McKinsey projects, another 350 million people will need to be accommodated, some 250 million of them as rootless rural migrants.