New government subcenter will help relieve pressure on downtown
Beijing has set a population cap of 1.3 million by 2035 for Tongzhou district, its municipal subsidiary administrative center, according to a draft plan released late on Thursday.
According to the draft plan on the development of Tongzhou, which is about 40 minutes drive from downtown Beijing, the subcenter is expected to see its population rise by between 400,000 and 500,000 by 2035.
Beijing's subcenter will relocate population and certain functions from the downtown to the district, which will help to ensure the capital's core functions as the country's political, cultural, international communication and scientific innovation center, said Shi Weiliang, head of the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design.
This year, Beijing plans to carry out 11 projects focusing on relocating noncapital functions like education and medical care, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on Friday.
The construction of new campuses of four universities, including Beijing Technology and Business University and Beijing Film Academy, in suburban areas is accelerating, and the authority expects to relocate 80,000 faculty and students by 2022.
In addition, Beijing plans to start building or relocating four hospital branches and medical colleges in suburban areas by the end of this year, which are expected to add 2,200 hospital beds and relocate 10,000 faculty and students in medical majors.
As Beijing is shifting some of its administrative functions out of the city center into Tongzhou to help address "urban ills", including traffic congestion and air pollution, the municipal government is planning a balanced development of work, life, medical services, education, leisure and commerce.
Wu Zhiqiang, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said balanced development will have a significant influence on future city planning since the previous focus was only on life and work, which was already hard to achieve.
To better serve the subcenter, a number of new projects will kick off this year in Tongzhou district, including the construction of a museum, a theater, and a library as well as a new campus for Beijing No 5 High School and some hospital branches.
Beijing will carry out eight public transportation projects within the subcenter this year.