McKinsey Report on Meeting the challenges Of Chinas growing cities

Friday, July 25, 2008 9:57

There seems to be a lot on urban planning and sustainability these days, and the latest is from McKinsey’s Meeting the challenges Of China’s growing cities is an apparently a update of their March report Preparing for China’s Urban Billion

Overall – their guidance is correct.  China is going to continue to urbanize on a scale never seen before, but I am just not sure it is going to happen on the same level, at the same speed, and as McKinsey says it will.

One of the facts I really have a hard time swallowing is the 1 billion urbanites by 2025.  another 600 million or so people into the cities… which will require a lot of people to move off the farm, off their land, to find city jobs.. which I am just not sure is feasible given the hesitation of families to give up their land in China.  On the actual building side of the equation, building materials have shot through the roof from China’s already rampant building, and building another 20,000 – 30,000 is only going to drive steel and cement prices into the stratosphere.  Not exactly a trend that lends itself to affordable housing

Further into the report,  McKinsey lays out 4 tangible benefits of the urbanization:

  • Higher per capita GDP
  • Efficient Use of energy
  • Lower rate of arable land loss
  • more efficient mass transit

All good things, but here is my problem – China’s energy efficiency is not transportation related like the US is.  70% of energy consumption in China is in the buildings found in the cities.. and because insulation regulations are ridiculously low and poorly enforced, the real inefficiencies are found in the very buildings that need to be built.  Where I would say a huge benefit comes in is actually in the cost of health care going down through central facilities, reduced logistics costs, and the reduction of ongoing infrastructural maintenance

One exhibit that I really enjoyed though was exhibit 10 (page 31) that looks at the various pressures under different scenarios. It doesn’t capture everything, but visually it gives you a good idea of just how fine the lines are, where the models on the whole have different benefits, and where the pressure points are for each model.

However, the best part of this report for me – actually it is not part of the report, but is an addition to, is the Urban Planning quiz.  Click the picture above to play, and test your knowedge.  For me, I chose the big city and acutally did really well… but I guess that is because I go to the Urban Planning Museum often and I have been on a related project for the last 4 months.

Either way, a great way to blow the afternoon.  Like sim city for policy consultants

For other resources on this topic, I still highly encourage the Growth Report from yesterday, and I would also suggest the

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2 Responses to “McKinsey Report on Meeting the challenges Of Chinas growing cities”

  1. Posts of the Week: 7/21 - 7/27 | China Stocks Blog says:

    July 28th, 2008 at 3:55 am

    […] McKinsey Report on Meeting the challenges Of Chinas growing cities at All Roads Lead to China Fun game is attached, too. I scored 46 for Mega City on my first run through at any level. I squandered my opportunities to build up my human capital… […]

  2. Naresh says:

    October 1st, 2008 at 12:40 am

    can any one send the link for India also