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Ziyang City in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is faced with the challenge of stimulating economic growth while creating a liveable city for its people. Towards green development, CDIA is currently supporting its municipal government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in developing a Project Preparation Study (PPS) that will offer a blueprint of how a small city could be sustainable, both economically and environmentally.
The central government of PRC has recently shifted to a new urban development model – that of an integrated city development and industrialization. In this scheme, the city has dynamic industries that provide jobs for its residents, at the same time that the industry has a liveable city nearby as its human resource base and service center.
However, like many smaller cities, Ziyang City has to compete with bigger cities to make it attractive as an industrial location, as most industries tend to be located in industrial parks close to larger urban centers. Similarly, the city has yet to improve its infrastructure to create better living conditions for its residents.
Despite these challenges, Ziyang’s strategic location will allow it to take advantage of opportunities for development. Firstly, it is located within the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB), identified as one of the key engines of growth in the country where ‘ecological protection and green development’ are top priorities. Secondly, it is specifically within the Chengdu-Chongqing Urban Agglomeration in the upper reaches of the YREB, the most promising economic growth center in the YREB. Thirdly, Ziyang City has been selected by PRC as a small city to demonstrate industrial transformation.
To support development in the YREB, the ADB is proposing a $200 million loan to Ziyang Municipality for projects that will help realize its goal of promoting green development and attracting businesses in light industry and service-oriented sectors while creating environmentally-friendly and attractive living conditions.
In line with this, CDIA is currently conducting a PPS that seeks to improve economic and environmental conditions specifically in the Sichuan Ziyang High Technology Development Zone (SZHTDZ). Three outputs are expected to be delivered by April 2018:
Urban development planning and management capacity strengthened and applied. This entails assistance in the management and monitoring of the industrial park, and development of an urban green transformation planning study for the SZHTDZ.
Economic sector opportunities broadened. This involves support in developing the dental sector industry including its R&D platform, etc; and the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Center with 6,000-student capacity.
Ecological systems and environmental infrastructure constructed. This will support improvements in environmental infrastructure and ecological areas, such as construction of flood control embankments, sponge city interventions, wetland area development, and landfill closure and transformation into a green park, among others.
The results of the PPS will serve as inputs to the ADB for succeeding project development work leading to actual implementation.
The projects are envisaged to help the Ziyang Municipal Government to make the change towards a greener and more sustainable development path, which are expected to benefit about 1.1 million people, consisting of 268,000 direct and 835,000 indirect beneficiaries.