VI.TOWARDS THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: FUTURE PERSPECTIVE AND POLICY OF DEVELOPMENT IN SHENYANG
B. Policy for future development
3. Adjusting urban planning and controlling the extent of urban land use
In the past, urban planning in Shenyang was not rational. For example, many large-size enterprises (e.g., non-ferrous smelting and cooking gas production plants) are located in the central district of the city, which creates serious pollution problems. In addition, the movement of population and goods is concentrated in the central district of the city, which aggravates urban environmental pollution. Existing urban planning is unsuited to the present needs of the population and economic development. Therefore urban spatial planning will need to be updated. The middle urban district of Shenyang should be changed from a single to a multi-centre area. At the same time, the city should gradually develop a system of one central district, two accessory cities, six satellite cities and 50 towns.
The main function of the middle urban district (built up-area) is to act as political, economic and cultural centre. The government should control the construction of new dwellings, and the reconstruction of buildings within the first circuit road. The controlled urban area should be used for foreign investment, afforestation, municipal engineering, technology, culture and entertainment.
The city should remove enterprises in the middle urban area that produce a great deal of pollution and disturb citizens. Meanwhile, the city should strengthen management, strictly control the passage of pollution from urban to rural areas. In addition, through administrative, economic and legal measures, the city should gradually end irrational land use from within the first circuit road area, and increase green areas in order to improve environmental quality and increase the capability for sustainable urban development.
At present, the area of urban land in Shenyang is 186 km2. As urbanization develops, that area will expand and Shenyang will be faced with having to make a choice: allow the urban land area to expand or limit the area and introduce high density development.
Cultivated land in Shenyang declined from 598,300 hectares in 1980 to 567,400 hectares in 1995; that decline is continuing at a rate of some 2,060 hectares annually. Construction projects are the main reason for the decrease in farmland. Furthermore, as urbanization develops more rapidly, urban land use will continue to expand. Serious consideration must therefore be given to the wisdom of allowing such a trend to continue.
Expansion of the urban land area means a reduction in agricultural land area, which in turn will mean that the capacity of the land to support the population will be reduced. Second, urban expansion can be expected to destroy the original forest cover or farmland and cover the land with an impermeable surface, such as roads, housing estates etc. As the area of impermeable cover increases, surface run-off may also increase, rainwater percolation may be reduced and the flood frequency may rise. In addition, a reduction in rainwater percolation and excessive exploitation of underground water may destroy underground water resources. Thus, unplanned urban expansion poses a serious threat to water resources. Third, urban expansion will absorb extensive rural areas such as farmland. As a result, a large proportion of the agrarian population will be forced to become non-agrarian, and the urbanization of the population will be accelerated.
At present, Shenyang is at the industrial restructuring stage. The city is facing a critical problem of serious unemployment among workers from the heavy and chemical industries. Given the present level of Shenyang's economic development, the city does not have the capability of solving the unemployment problem. If the urban area continues to expand, growing numbers of the agrarian population will be forced to turn to non-agrarian activities, thus worsening the unemployment problem in Shenyang City. In addition, urban expansion will place even heavier pressure on the environment and make pollution in the city even more serious. Finally, because a rapid urban population increase has a negative effect on urban sustainable development, the city must restrain the shift from an agrarian to a non-agrarian population, while also limiting the area of land used for urban expansion in order to control the continuing rate of population.
In conclusion, in view of the demand for resources, the need for environmental protection and the growing requirement for social benefits (e.g., unemployment), the city should control horizontal urban expansion through the introduction of high density urbanization, the development of satellite cities, the gradual formation of an ideal city-town system and the rational distribution of population and industry.