Chapter 10 - Development of Sustainabl of Human Settlements
10.1 The policy of reform and opening to the outside world have accelerated national social and economic development and promoted urban development in China. The rural population is continuously flowing into cities and towns in increasing numbers. Therefore, it is necessary not only to continue to improve the housing standards for the current urban population, but also to meet the needs of the newcomers. The movement of great numbers of people and the increased circulation of goods and materials, combined with an increase in the number of motor vehicles, has meant that traffic problems are becoming a major issues in the development of human settlements. The infrastructure is under pressures from the growth in the urban population and from rising production and living standards. The shortage of natural resources is another challenge to be faced in developing human settlements in China. A low technological level and the improper use of resources has aggravated the severity of the problem. In cities, the amount of land currently being used for industrial purposes is relatively high compared with other land uses. Approximately 70% of industries are located in cities and in many areas, factories and housing are intermixed, a major factor affecting the environment of urban residential areas. The use of arable land by the village and township enterprises (VTEs) is another serious problem. Settlements in towns and villages are also under the threat from various types of environmental pollution.
10.2 The objectives for the development of human settlements are: to formulate and enforce policies, laws, regulations, development strategies, long-term plans and action programmes by appropriate government agencies and legislative bodies; to mobilize all social communities and people for taking an active part in the construction of human settlements, which should be rationally laid out with comprehensive facilities, which are convenient for working and living, and which have clean, quiet and comfortable environments.
10.3 This chapter is based mainly on Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, including the relevant resolutions and documents, as well as on the Ten-Year Plan for the Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China, the Programme of the Eighth Five-Year Plan, the City Planning Law of the People's Republic of China and other legal documents. The sustainable development of human settlements is closely related to the development of economy, the utilization of natural resources and to environmental protection. A relationship between this chapter and other chapters can be found in each relevant programme areas (see Chapters 9, "Health and Sanitation"; 11, "Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development"; 12, "Sustainable Development of Industry, Transportation and Communications"; 14, "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources"; 17, "Disaster Mitigation"; 18, "Protection of the Atmosphere"; 19, "Environmentally Sound Management of Solid Wastes").
10.4 This chapter includes 6 programme areas:
Basis for action
10.5 Rapid population growth in cities and towns, and particularly in medium-sized and large cities, is an important factor affecting the sustainable development of human settlements. In 1950, the total urban population in China was 58 million; by 1990, the figure had quadrupled to 214 million. In the last 10 years, the annual average growth rate of the population was 0.53%, which is higher than the world average. The migrant population has already reached 60 million and will increase substantially in the future. Provision of appropriate and living conditions for these people is another important concern in the sustainable development of human settlements.
10.6 The number of cities (especially large cities) is growing rapidly. In 1980, there were 223 cities throughout China; by 1990, the number had more than doubled to 467. In the last 10 years, the number of large cities has increased from 70 to 119, small cities from 108 to 289 and towns from 2,874 to 12,084. The vigorous development of village and township enterprises in rural areas has also greatly accelerated the process of industrialization and urbanization. At present, more than 800 million people live in rural areas. During the transformation to a market economy, surplus rural labour and some of the population is tending to shift to urban areas.
10.7 Planning for human settlements and land use management for housing are important elements in the development of human settlements. In Chinese cities, land for housing and facility constructions is in short supply, and there has not been rational planning and land utilization. Urban land availability stands at 67.5 square metres per capita, or 81% of the world average. Of this land, approximately 26.4% is used for industrial purposes. In rural areas, VTEs and housing occupy considerable amounts of arable land, thus posing a potential threat to sustainable development.
10.8 The momentum for the excessively rapid growth in populations in large cities should be appropriately controlled; satellite towns near large cities should be developed, as should medium-sized or small cities. By the year 2000, the number of cities is expected to reach about 600, of towns to about 15,000. The floating population in large cities, who are no longer participating in agricultural production, will constitute 25% of the urban population. Methods of dealing with the large migrant urban population should be improved.
10.9 General plans for regions and existing cities should be revised. Detailed, restrictive planning procedures should be introduced for towns and villages. Land for urban and rural housing and for improvements to the infrastructure should be secured. The urban infrastructure should be improved. There should be coordinated urban and rural development.
10.10 Management-related activities:
10.11 Scientific and technological activities:
10.12 Construction of demonstration projects:
10.13 Enhancing capabilities:
10.14 International cooperation in community management and settlement will be sought in areas such as scientific research, academic exchange and personnel training.
Basis for action
10.15 Building up infrastructures in human settlements is a prerequisite for improving conditions in human settlements. Human settlements in China have poor infrastructures and suffer from receiving inadequate investment. This has already been proving to be a serious impediment to socio-economic development.
10.16 Over 300 cities in China suffer from water shortages, with daily shortages exceeding 16 million tons. The problem is most critical in about 100 cities. What is more, there is a shortage of water supply facilities in China.
10.17 Approximately 215 million people in rural areas, or approximately 23.3% of the rural population, has access to tapped water. About 50% of the rural population still drinks poor quality water. Projects for improving water supply have benefitted 71.8% of the rural population, but there are still 30 million people in rural areas, for whom a supply drinking water remains insecure.
10.18 Since 1949, the gross industrial output of urban industries has increased 30-fold and there has been a 25-fold increase in the amount of waste water discharged by industries. During the same period, the total pipe length for urban public sewers increased only 7.7 times. Public sewers are available in only 61.5% of built-up districts. Due to the serious lack of sewage treatment facilities, more than 80% of sewage has been discharged into water bodies without effective treatment, causing serious pollution of potable water sources and threatening the health of inhabitants. Moreover, in a good number of small cities and towns, especially in the rural areas, there are still no sewage facilities available, and this gravely hinders the sustainable development of human settlements.
10.19 At present, fuel gases are available in only 51% of China's cities; half of the population still burns coal; the majority of rural residents depend on straw, dry grasses and wood for heating and cooking.
10.20 The availability of central heating systems for urban residents is very low. The use of individual small boilers and domestic coal-burning stoves result in energy waste and serious air pollution.
10.21 Postal, telecommunications and power supply facilities, which are indispensable in the development of human settlements, are far from meeting the requirements for sustainable development (see Chapter 12).
10.22 Factors such as the large population, the variety of types of vehicles, poor road conditions, a low level of traffic supervision, inadequate traffic control and management lead to frequent traffic jams and accidents. In some large cities in China, the average traffic speed is only 15 km/hour, which is seriously affecting people's lives and work and restricting urban socio-economic development. For discussion of problems concerning inter-city traffic and transportation in the rural areas, refer to other chapters and sub-sections concerned.
10.23 Water supply and sewage discharge facilities should meet the needs of people and economic development. Increasing the availability of potable water is a major goal. By the year 2000, it will reach around 95% in cities, with daily per capita water consumption of 200 litres. As well, economic measures will be taken to encourage water conservation. By the turn of the century, around 70% of urban areas will have sewage discharge facilities and the percentage will increase to over 85% by 2025. In rural areas during the same period, tapped water will be made available to 317 million people, approximately 33% of total rural population.
10.24 By the year 2000, there will be a big increase in gas utilization in cities. Rural areas will be encouraged to develop other energy sources such as marsh gases and solar energy. By the year 2000, around 40% of heating in urban areas will be supplied by central heating. In most cities, coal will not be used to heat homes. There is even consideration being given to supplying hot water to residents.
10.25 Mid-term targets for urban transportation are to develop road networks that will handle traffic volumes, to construct high-speed roads to handle large volumes of traffic in major transportation corridors, and to develop various means of urban passenger transportation, such as subways. In the long run, it is expected that a rapid, punctual, safe, convenient and comfortable urban transportation network will be developed so that, an average trip in the city will take no more than 60 minutes in large cities and less than 40 minutes in medium-sized cities. The density of roads in large and medium-sized cities should reach 10 kilometres per square kilometre (both major and secondary streets). The city transportation network should gradually become a 3-dimensional system, incorporating multiple level of traffic.
10.26 There should be improvements to the infrastructures in both urban and rural areas, including the postal system, telecommunications, banking, medical care, sanitation, sports and cultural facilities, educational and recreational activities, shopping networks, information services, and social welfare systems.
10.27 Management-related activities:
10.28 Scientific and technological activities:
10.29 Construction of demonstration projects:
10.31 International cooperation: In connection with infrastructure planning, construction and management, international cooperation with developed countries and regions will be encouraged in the fields of technical research, implementation of demonstration projects and personnel training.
Basis for action
10.32 With sharp increases in urban populations, with rising levels of consumption and with ever- growing production, there are also increases in waste water, gases and residua, which are seriously polluting the environment and threatening people's health. At present, only 16.2% of sewage in urban areas is treated 16.2% (of which 3.4% is done through government support). Smog resulting from the suspension of particles and sulphur dioxide emissions is still quite serious. Urban solid wastes are increasing. There is a trend towards increasing noise from traffic and other social activities. Sanitary conditions in many cities are below standard. The development of village and township enterprises is also causing pollution of the environment in rural areas.
10.33 Rapid increases in the means of urban transportation, in particular motor vehicles, have produced large amounts of hazardous gases and noise, which are seriously impacting the normal work life and health of residents, and as a result, their work efficiency.
10.34 The coverage of vegetation in urban areas is decreasing. At present, the vegetation coverage rate is only 19.2%, and per capita green space stands at only 3.9 square metres, and these are often affected by urban construction.
10.35 By the year 2000, through investment by the government, the sewage treatment rate will reach 25% and this will be increased to 50%-60% by the year 2025. Moreover, the number of sewage treatment projects financed by enterprises will also be increased. Appropriate sewage treatment technologies will be applied in villages and towns.
10.36 Comprehensive control measures will be taken to reduce industrial noise and traffic noise in urban areas.
10.37 Emissions of coal-burning smog, motor-vehicle exhausts, and industrial wastes in urban areas should be controlled (see Chapter 18, "Protection of the Atmosphere").
10.38 Facilities for the collection, treatment and disposal of industrial wastes, construction residua and household refuse should be developed (see Chapter 19, "Environmentally Sound Management of Solid Wastes").
10.39 There should be vigorous promotion of programmes to increase urban vegetation. By the year 2000, coverage by urban vegetation should be 30%, with per capita green space of 7 square metres.
10.40 Management-related activities:
10.41 Scientific and technological activities:
10.42 Appropriate cities will be selected to initiate demonstration projects in the treatment of lake pollution, in high efficiency and energy-saving sewage treatment, and in urban sewage recycling and natural sewage purification.
10.44 Technical and commercial cooperation will be conducted with appropriate international bodies, enterprises and financial groups. International symposiums, academic exchanges and exhibitions will be organized.
Basis for action
10.45 One of the basic human rights is access to an appropriate dwelling place. A comfortable and safe house is fundamental to the welfare of each citizen and every family and, therefore, it should be a basic component of national and international activities.
10.46 Housing is one of the main criteria for reaching the goal of the Chinese people enjoying a comfortable life by the year 2000. It is also an important index of social development.
10.47 For a long time, government investment in housing construction has not met the needs of the growing population. Because housing has long been regarded as mechanism of social welfare, it has been difficult to accumulate sufficient funds for construction of new housing or for renovations of old. At present, there is a sharp discrepancy between demand and supply of housing. At the end of 1990, 5 million households were inadequately housed, with over 400,000 of these having per capita floor-space below 2 square metres. Furthermore, there were approximately 32,320,000 square metres of dangerous housing that needed complete renovation or renewal. At present, 46% of the housing is made up of flats, which are not fully equipped, are of poor construction quality and are improperly managed. The number of flats should be increased, but their quality and management improved.
10.48 Although there is a rapid development for shelter construction in rural areas, the planning, design and engineering quality are at a low level; shelter conditions in poverty-stricken areas should be improved.
10.49 By the year 2000, every urban household should have appropriate accommodation and every rural household should have a suitable, sanitary and compact house with a courtyard. In the 1990s, more efforts will be focused on convenience, sanitation, quality of housing and the environments surrounding housing.
10.50 Management-related activities:
10.51 Scientific and technological activities:
10.52 Construction of demonstration projects:
10.54 On the basis of existing international cooperation projects, further cooperation should be undertaken with international organizations such as the UN Centre for Human Settlements, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, in areas such as planning for the development of housing, funding for housing construction, the management of residential districts and new construction technologies.
Basis for action
10.55 The construction industry has an important mission with respect to resource utilization, environmental construction and socio-economic development. It not only simply building various civic buildings and facilities, but it is also a labour-intensive industry, which creates a large number of jobs. In recent years, the labour force in the Chinese construction industry has exceeded 20 million people, accounting for 6% of the total employed population. Every increment of 10 thousand square metres in construction creates approximately 1000 job opportunities directly or indirectly.
10.56 The capacity for housing construction should be maintained. In order to meet the requirement for 16.5 billion square metres of new urban housing by the year 2000, the annual construction capacity should be increased from 126 million square metres in the "Seventh Five-Year Plan" period (1986-1990) to 150 million square metres for the "Eighth Five-Year Plan" period (1991-1995), and eventually to 190 million square metres by the end of this century.
10.57 All possible efforts should be made to ensure the quality of housing construction. By the year 2000, the approval rate for the newly built houses will be over 90% at their first inspection for quality, out of which 35% ought to be of very high quality. Common quality problems, such as water leakage and rough construction, will be better solved. The supervision of construction and a quality control system should be improved in order to ensure the safety and quality of houses.
10.58 The production of building blocks should become specialized and industrialized. There should be an increase in the mechanization of construction. Working conditions should be improved and labour productivity be raised. By the year 2000, average labour productivity in the construction industry should have risen by 3-5% annually; manual labour should be reduced by around 30%.
10.59 New construction technologies and materials, consuming less energy and raw materials should be developed and utilized. By the year 2000, the consumption rate for energy and raw materials in the construction industry should be reduced by 10% and around 40% respectively, as compared with that in 1990.
10.60 Management-related activities:
10.61 Scientific and technological activities:
10.62 Construction of demonstration projects:
10.64 International cooperation:
Basis for action
10.65 The energy supply in China is far from meeting demand. In keeping with improvements in people's living standards, residential energy consumption will see a large increases as compared with rises in total energy consumption. In developed countries, the consumption of energy in buildings accounts for 40-48% of total energy consumption, whereas in China, energy consumption in both buildings and the production of construction materials stands at 25% of total energy consumption. This low percentage is not due to high efficiency in these areas, but simply to the extremely low availability of central heating and hot water in China.
10.66 In 1990, energy consumption in buildings in China (excluding energy consumption in the production of building materials), was equivalent to 113 million tonnes of standard coal, or approximately 11.5% of total energy consumption; approximately 10% was used for heating. It is expected that by the year 2000, energy consumption in buildings will reach 199 million tonnes of standard coal, which will represent 13.1% of the total national consumption of energy. The annual increase of 5.84% for energy consumption in buildings exceeds the projected rate of increase of energy production, which is estimated at 2.4%.
10.67 Average energy efficiency in energy consumption in buildings in China stands at only 30%. In geographical areas that require heating, statistics indicate that, on average, every square metre of floor space consumes approximately 30.7 kilograms of standard coal during a heating season, which is roughly 3 times that required in developed countries under similar climatic conditions. This is due to the fact that reducing primary construction costs has been over-emphasized, resulting in the poor thermal performance of facing materials and increases in energy consumption. Energy conservation in buildings should be focused on improving the thermal performance of facing materials of buildings and the heating efficiency of boilers.
10.68 Along with the development of China's national economy, there is an increasing demand for improved indoor environments. Total area heated is expanding, and air-conditioners will be widely used in areas of high summer temperatures. Inevitably, energy consumption will rise by large amounts. Energy efficiency must be improved and energy consumption be reduced (e.g. through the utilization of energy-saving techniques for buildings) in order to realize both improvements in living conditions and energy-savings.
10.69 By the year 2000, energy conservation for buildings ought to have been achieved in two stages. Step 1: from 1993 to 1995, newly built urban houses in cold regions should follow the "Design Standards for Housing Energy Conservation". There should be a 30% increase in energy conservation, as compared with that in the general designs used in early 1980's, viz., 18-20 kg standard coal will be consumed for every square metre of floor space during a heating season. Newly built heated public structures should follow new energy-saving designs. Step 2: from 1996 to 2000, newly built houses and public buildings should follow new standards of energy conservation with energy efficiency reaching 50%. The new standard will also apply to newly built buildings with air conditioning, so that indoor conditions in both temperate or warm climate areas will be generally improved. According to the aforementioned goals, from 1993 to 2000, a total of 41 million tonnes of standard coal could be saved from routine consumption in buildings in China. After the year 2000, 10 million tonnes of standard coal could be saved annually, while the thermal environment of housing would at the same time be improved.
10.70 Management-related activities:
10.71 Scientific and technological activities: Led by the National Research Centre for Building Engineering and Technology, research will be conducted on key technologies and expertise in energy conservation and the utilization of solar energy. Energy-saving materials and equipment should be developed by introducing, studying and adapting advanced technologies from abroad, so that energy- saving technologies and products can be applied extensively.
10.72 Construction of demonstration projects:
10.73 Capacity-building: Training activities should be organized for building designers and workers, to develop expertise with respect to laws, regulations and standards for energy-saving. The mass media will be used to increase public awareness of the rational use of energy resources.
10.74 International cooperation in legislation, policy-making, management, development of technology for saving energy in buildings and improvements in energy efficiency will be sought, so as to promote technology transfer and the wider application of energy-saving techniques amongst enterprises.
For more information:
Address: 109 Wanquanhe Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100089,