A recently released ranking list shows that 50 cities in China tend to be sparsely populated. Cities include: Erenhot in Inner Mongolia ranking No.1; Lhasa in Tibet No.3; Sanya in Hainan No.9; Huzhou in Guangdong No.12.
A city has been considered not intensively populated if the ratio between the population in urban area and built area approximates to 0.5 or lower, according to the ranking list. The above theory is based on the land occupation standard from Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development which is that each square kilometers of built area should have a capacity of 10,000 people.
In order to avoid ‘ghost cities’ similar to Erenhot in Inner Mongolia popping up, the Ministry of Land and Resources recently issued a guideline on advocating utilisation of land economically and intensively.
Mr Dong Qi, the Planning Director of the Ministry said new built urban area is expanding so quickly and they are going to control the urban land and approve less and less projects.
A survey from Ministry of Land and Resources shows that new planned urban construction land per capita is 197 square meters and built urban construction land area per capita is 161 square meters, which is far beyond the national standard of 100 square meters per capita. However, it is difficult for local governments to stop the impulse of planning new towns. 90% of prefecture-level cities are planning new towns or new districts; 12 capital cities have planned 55 news towns in total, one of which even plans to build 13 new districts, according to a survey released in 2013 from National Development and Reform Commission.