Some of you may have heard of this new plan coming out of China to move 250 million rural citizens into the urban cities within 12 to 15 years (article above).The quick math shows that is 20.8 to 16.6 million people every year; essentially creating a new New York City every year. They want to do in 15 years what NYC has taken a little over 200 years to do (the grid layout was adopted in 1811) and as we know, NYC nor any other city is by any means perfect.
One of the most disheartening things about this plan is that it doesn't seem to take into account the environment, and more importantly what the Earth can actually handle in terms of resource extraction, urban density, etc. If you take a quick look at the slideshow provided in the article you can see a haze in the sky in just about every picture, which I feel safe to assume is air pollution from China's many coal fired power plants.
What might be the scariest of all is that this is all seen through the goggles of the western consumer economy. The government wants a bigger consumer and tax base through urbanization, but doesn't seem to be taking into consideration already known problems with growth oriented and a consumer economy. Ironically they want to emulate the United States of America's way of life, yet fail to see that consumerism and growth are already starting to falter.
It will be interesting to see what the Chinese government plans to do in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully they will see fit to acknowledge the importance of the environment and the organic city; one can only hope.