Targeted growth is necessary for sustainable urbanization. There is a pattern in China of rapid development due to inflated projections. This creates "ghost towns" and underutilized urban services that don't support the population.
In the case of Taiyuan, this industrial third-tier city of 4.2 million people. A majority of the newer residential services and high-end commercial areas are on the older, eastern side of the city. Since 2007, major urban investments have been made in developing the corridor that leads to the airport, including building a massive hospital, a new sports stadium, and "University City". The intention of the city officials is to encourage a new image of Taiyuan- one that is a tourist destination, one that has a high standard of living for residents. However, the consequences of these major developments might be immense, because of the required shift of community, residents and capital that would be required to sustain these new areas. Much of the new development lacks the reliable and frequent public transit of the more established downtown areas.
Do these investments in medical complexes, sports stadiums and massive shopping centers create new jobs that impact the income disparity, or do these new areas take years to fill, creating vacuums of investment that remove funding from areas with established communities? Can Taiyuan move successfully to a post-industrial economy with these government interventions, or is it too much too soon?
By examining demographic data from 2000, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013, research on sustainability assessments in Chinese cities (Lu Jia), and translated government publications detailing the urbanization efforts in Taiyuan, I will assess the results of the urbanization changes instituted by the new mayor, Geng Yanbo. My thesis will evaluate the success and failures of these policies and the implications for Taiyuan.