Adam Minter: How Big Can China’s Cities Get?


Bloomberg – By any measure, Shanghai is one of the world’s biggest cities. It’s home to more than 24 million people. Its subway system is the longest ever built, extending to its rural limits. Crowds are so thick that burly “shovers” get paid to help pack the trains. Now the local government is saying enough is enough: Documents released this week reveal that Shanghai intends to admit a mere 800,000 new residents over the next 24 years, on its way to becoming an “excellent global city.”

A population cap on one of China’s most dynamic locales may seem impractical. But the government is actually thinking bigger: The plan envisions Shanghai as the high-end hub at the center of a massive “city cluster” comprising 30 urban areas — with a staggering total population of 50 million.