In China, Wholesale Urban Flight – David Barboza

From The New York Times:

The huge chemical spill in the Songhua River that threatens the water supply of , an old industrial city located in China’s frigid, northeastern corridor, has focused attention on the environmental and economic challenges faced by the country’s withering rust belt.

Long before Harbin’s officials were forced to confront the contamination of the city’s water however, they had embarked on a radical step, one increasingly common among cities in China: fearful of losing out during the country’s economic boom, they had begun efforts to move the center of the city north, across the winding Songhua, to a large plot of farm land.

The city of Nanjing did something similar last year, carving out a 37-square-mile area to create its own “new town.” And so have other cities, like Ningbo, Yangzhou and Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi Province, which is planning to relocate its city center to the western banks of the Gan River.

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