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China plans megacity with 42 million people

China plans megacity with 42 million people

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Urban planners in southern China are evaluating how to merge nine cities -- and their systems, from transportation to energy -- that lie in the area around the Pearl River Delta.

What do you call nine separate cities in China that happen to be located near one another?

A megacity. Specifically, the biggest megacity the world has ever seen, with some 42 million residents.

Urban planners in southern China are evaluating the feasibility to merge nine metropolises that lie in the area around the Pearl River Delta, according to a new report.

The project is called "Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One," and it will, if successful, create a 16,000 sq. mi. urban area that is 26 times larger than greater London with more than four times the population of New York City, the largest city in the U.S.

Moreover, the area represents almost 10 percent of China's economy, reports The Telegraph.

It's an impressive plan, with lots of engineering: both physical (linking transportation systems), psychological (linking governments) and cultural.

Amazingly, the plan will reportedly occur within a six-year timetable, and includes about 150 infrastructure projects, from transportation to energy to water and telecommunications.

The cost? About $303.8 billion.

For now, the region has no name, and since there's no "anchor city," the rest won't be at risk to lose their own names. It's intended to be a geographic foil to the megalopolis that includes Beijing and Tianjin.

It's easy to get lost in this project's statistics, but it's actually a fairly logical move for most of these systems: after all, why not unite transportation systems to facilitate travel within the area, or the power grid to facilitate energy management? It's really only one "megacity" in name -- it's more about aligning priorities and unifying standards.

Nevertheless, the project also seems threatened by inherent bureaucratic concerns -- that is to say, it will be exceedingly difficult to manage a region this large without robust administrative structures in place.

China to create largest mega city in the world with 42 million people [The Telegraph]

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure