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China's futuristic megabies


Say "Chinese city", and most people think of Shanghai's spaceship-like skyline (pictured above). And surely Shanghai has the largest population of all Chinese cities and is the dynamo of a cluster of 18 major cities in the lower reaches of the Chang Delta – home to almost 100 million people. But most Norwegians have hardly heard of places like Tianjin, Chengdu and Shenzhen. Despite the fact that they all now have more than ten million inhabitants, what is now the criterion for being able to be called a megacity. In 1980, Shenzhen in southern China was a fishing village with 310.000 inhabitants.

Now there are ten million people living in the city, in a futuristic landscape of skyscrapers, highways, 19.700 factories and a golf course in

world class. Since 1978, the degree of urbanization in China has increased from 17 percent in 1978 to 42 percent in 2005.

The migration from the countryside goes fast. But it is not chaotic. Shanghai and

other Chinese megacities do not have huge slums, as they have in India. The Hukou system, a census writing system that previously excluded farmers from the cities, has been significantly relaxed, but remains an effective barrier to discriminating against non-urban dwellers. The Communist Party also has a greater opportunity than, for example, Brazilian politicians to tear down slums – in Brazil, they depend on the voices of the poor.

According to the new five-year plan, farmers will be encouraged to move into smaller towns. The megabytes will change their financial structure away from the

intensive low-cost industry, so that village-

the population should not go there.

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