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Creating the “fifth-generation new town”

21 November 2011
Creating the “fifth-generation new town”

By Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group.


Here, there is a two hour time difference from Beijing. And here, 31 people are gathered, rich in ethnic customs. Here used to be the bustling ancient Silk Road; here, Kashgar is the oasis of the desert.

Kashgar has been lifting its veil of mystery - probing, trying and innovating for an urban development path of its own. On November 18 2011, the Kashgar city government announced its goal of creating the international “fifth-generation new town”.

With Sina Environment, thus I visited Kashgar to talk with Xuguang Chen, the Kashgar prefectural committee member, Kashgar party secretary and Kashgar special economic zone committee party secretary.

Kashgar city pic1 Chen

Xuguang Chen, Party Secretary of Kashgar is giving a talk 

Secretary Chen had an in-depth interpretation for the positioning and planning of Kashgar: to take advantage of its traffic zone location; make the low-consumption, high-yield “mobile economy” the pillar of development; rely on the regional advantage of international airport; and to take the low carbon eco-sustainable development path.

One corridor and three zones: enhance the livability of Kashgar city

The east has Shenzhen, the west has Kashgar. Thirty years ago, Shenzhen became the first special economic zone in China. The former little border town has now developed into an emerging modern city with certain international influence.

Today then, with Kashgar – the border town in the west and also a special economic zone at national level  –  how should we position and plan its urban development?

Kashgar lies in an earthquake-prone area, its oasis ecological environment is very fragile and the city layout is quite unique. Combining these factors, a special planning called “One corridor and three zones” is being implemented.

Specifically, one corridor refers to the city functions and industrial development corridor; three zones refer to the northern ecological buffer zone, the middle ecological recreation zone and the southern ecological conservation zone.

The positioning of Kashgar is to develop a modernized oasis garden city. While developing the new town, we must exert more efforts to protect cultural heritage, combining traditional and modern advantages. Thus we can create a beautiful and harmonious natural ecological environment and enhance urban livability.

Kashgar city pic2 Sustainable Development HighEnd Seminar

Officials and Experts at Kashgar Sustainable Development High-End Seminar

Mobile Economy: a low-consumption high-yield economic model

The traditional mode of city development is generally characterized by large-scale land development, rapid industrial expansion, and fast population gathering. Given its thousand-year-old cultural tradition and vulnerable ecological environment, Kashgar needs to explore a development path of its own.

Kashgar also proposed the economic essence for the “fifth-generation new town”—mobile economy: namely an economic mode characterized by high mobility of capital, population and information.

The GuoFa [2011] No.33 document, “A number of views by the state on supporting the building of kashgar Horgos economic development zone” puts forward policies supporting development in Kashgar, and economic development in particular.

The document indicates that from 2011-2015, the central government will give a certain amount of subsidy each year for:

  • construction of an economic development zone
  • encourage and guide all kinds of financial institutions to establish branches in the economic development zone
  • construct financial supervision and coordination mechanism in the economic development zone
  • study and coordinate financial policies
  • promote financial innovation pilot projects
  • boost financial industry development
  • support economic development zone construction
  • support the establishment of economic development zone industrial investment funds.

Guided by these policies, Kashgar Government will allow financial innovation and in-depth development of financial pilot projects. In the new round of development, Kashgar government will break through the vision of yesterday and adopt a brand-new vision for today’s planning. Kashgar will also strive to develop tourism, port industries, financial industries and other mobile economic modes.

Kashgar city pic3 solar power station in Kashgar

Experts and the media are studying the solar power station in Kashgar

Airport Economy: realize economic growth based on regional advantage

The west of Kashgar is connected to Tajikistan; the southwest of Kashgar is adjacent to Afghanistan and Pakistan. With a total border line of 888 kilometers, Kashgar’s neighboring countries also include Kyrgyzstan and India. At the present, there are five ports in Kashgar that are open to the outside world, i.e. Khunjerab, Turgart, Irkeshtam, Karasu and Kashgar international airport.

On June 18, 2011, Kashgar autonomous-regional government signed minutes with the Civil Aviation Authority in Urumqi, and agreed to build Kashgar airport into the hub airport within Xinjiang. In 2011, Kashgar airport’s total passengers exceeded 900,000.

Kashgar’s unique regional advantage of facing the East Asia, South Asia as well as West Asia serves as the basis of developing airport economy. At the same time, Kashgar is endowed with the distance advantage to Europe and the inland, which will enhance its direct transportation to European countries and the inland. This will also provide the transportation basis for developing international trade, modern logistics, tourism and communication, so that Kashgar will be forged into the Silk Road in the air from the Silk Road on the hump.

Kashgar city pic4 Visiting the tomb of Joseph Yu Po Haas Haji Po writer of Happiness and Wisdom a Uighur philosophy masterpiece

Visiting the tomb of Joseph Yu Po Haas Haji Po, writer of “Happiness and Wisdom”, a Uighur philosophy masterpiece 

The symbol of Kashgar: One can never say she has been to Xinjiang without visiting Kashgar

For every city, there is a symbol. When it comes to Kashgar, there goes an old saying: “One can never say she has been to Xinjiang without visiting Kashgar”.

Located in the most west of China, Kashgar as an ancient city which gave birth to a rich ethnic heritage and witnessed the flourishing and prosperity of the Silk Road. This bright pearl in the west of China is eager to reshape itself: to  protect the ancient civilization, to build a city most suitable for living, to forge a rich blend of culture heritage and to increase its reputation both at home and abroad.

Kashgar is now adopting the “New Idea, New Silk Road” framework: drawing on experience in urban development, aiming to preserve the history and culture, to protect the ecological environment and to utilize resources in a sustainable manner; the core for development is to build a harmonious society and a prosperous economy; realize sustainable development through leaps and bounds and do the utmost to create the “fifth-generation new town”.

You can read our translated report on Kashgar's low carbon development in Mandarin and English. 

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