BEIJING, March 11 -- China should promote sound urbanization in an active yet prudent way, and only quality development can really benefit the country.
By the end of 2012, the country's urbanization level rose to 52.6 percent from 45.9 percent five years ago, marking a historic turning point in the nation's urban-rural population structure.
The figure means more than half of the total population live in cities.
An urban development report issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that the next five to ten years is a key period for China's urbanization drive.
Authorities believe urbanization offers the largest potential for China to expand domestic demand, which is vital for sustainable growth of the world's second largest economy.
Ensure Agricultural Development in Urbanization
Fast paces of urbanization and industrialization have put China's grain supply and demand in a "tight balance," according to analysts.
This was shown in a blue paper released in January by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which pinpointed the labor force as a key factor restricting China's agricultural development.
Urbanization consumes high-quality arable land and sucks up the rural labor force, pushing up labor costs, explained Han Jun, deputy chief of the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's cabinet.
Moreover, more grain is needed to produce animal feed to satisfy China's growing appetite for meat as the population's dietary structure changes, Han added.
Modern agriculture development is essential for quality urbanization.
The government is planning to take various measures to “modernize" farmers, and give attention to developing an efficient and intensive agricultural production system.
The country will "support the development of various forms of new farmers cooperatives and multi-level commercial organizations that provide agricultural services, and it will gradually establish a new type of system of intensive agricultural operations that are specialized, well-organized and commercialized," Premier Wen Jiabao said in the government work report on March 5.
"The reform and innovation in rural operations, which touch upon fundamental issues related to agriculture and farmers, will bring significant changes to agricultural production," said Han Jun, a rural studies researcher with Tsinghua University.
The moves are of great importance to ensuring grain security and raising farmers' income, he said.
Control Megacities' Size in Urbanization
Premier Wen Jiabao said megacities and large cities should be kept to an appropriate size and they should fully play their role in driving the development of surrounding areas.
The concentration of education, medical care, work opportunities and other resources are major attractions for people who swarm into big cities.
However, the excessive density of population will affect the operation efficiency and quality of life, in addition to the strained supply of energy and other resources.
Currently, large cities face great challenges in economic structure, planning, construction, management, environment and public services.
"A big population does not necessarily mean good for a city. What is important is that a city should have its own distinctive features and is livable," said Pan Jiahua, head of the Urban and Environmental Studies Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Large cities should focus on high value-added industries such as high-tech and cultural sectors, whereas small and medium-sized cities and small towns develop their distinctive industries, Pan said.
It is a must to underline the scientific development of cities and enhance the overall quality of them and urbanization, stressed leading analysts in an urban development report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.