Over the past few decades, Shanghai has been transformed into a major world metropolis with a population of 24 million, stunning skyscrapers that compete with those of New York and its modern, efficient public transportation system that is nearly double the length of London's Tube. Despite this, the current position of this global metropolis is not enough for officials of the Shanghai Municipal Government who have a vision to increase the city's status among other major cities around the globe, aiming to make it a global icon by 2040. Speaking to a group of Turkish journalists on Sept. 28 during their visit to the city as part of a tour organized by China Radio International (CRI), spokesman for the Shanghai Municipal Government, Xu Wei, said: "We will improve our current position and this city will become an excellent global city in economy, trade, shipping, innovation and culture by 2040."Located on the east coast of China at the mouth of the longest river in the county, the Yangtze, Shanghai is one of four Chinese cities ranked at the highest level classification of direct-controlled municipalities. Due to its unique and strategic location, the city has been a major port since it was founded more than 700 years ago. Its strategic position on the coast led the metropolis to become a significant crossroad between the East and West. The city already has some of the best living standards in China and, with the latest master plan approved last year, Shanghai aims to exceed some of the best cities in the world in terms of its status, becoming an excellent global city by 2040.
Shanghai's ambitious plan includes increasing green spaces across the city, reducing commute times, cutting pollution and even setting targets for the number of art galleries, museums and libraries per person while also increasing the number of communities and apartments offered for expatriates, as the city increasingly attracts talent from around the world. However, all this comes at a price. "In order to create an ecologically friendly city, we need to transform the industries in Shanghai. Today, 70 percent of the economy in our city relies on the service industry, and we have reduced the share of industries to 20 percent," the spokesman said. "We have to consider job creation and employment while working on this transformation, so it is a demanding job."
To achieve these goals, the city will take measures to better control expansion of its construction sector amid efforts to increase its population, implement environmental protection measures and improve safety in urban areas. According to the plan, the city's population will be limited to 25 million by 2040, which is not easy task to do while the city is becoming a center of attraction. "Rising house prices are discouraging educated young professionals and artists who want to live in Shanghai. Therefore, we are trying to control market prices," Xu said.
The city's current per capita public green space is about 7 square meters. Amid aims to create an ecologically friendly city, the plan includes forest coverage reaching 25 percent, and each resident will have 15 square meters of public parks or green space on average by 2040. According to the plan, there will be 10 art galleries, two museums and five libraries for every 100,000 residents. Sports enthusiasts will also benefit from at least five new professional football fields as well as more gyms and training centers. Additional international communities for expats and apartments to accommodate professionals will be built to attract talent from around the world.
Traffic is also an essential dimension of this major city. Shanghai currently has a metro line that stretches over 600 kilometers, making it longer than New York and London's systems. The city plans to add about 1,000 kilometers to the network, 1,000 kilometers to the intercity railway network and another 1,000 kilometers of tram lines to cut average commute times to under 40 minutes by 2040. "Our public transportation system currently serves 10 million people every day. By 2040, more than half of all downtown residents will rely on public transportation and over 60 percent of residents will have access to a subway station within 600 meters of where they live, Xu said.