Socio-Economic impacts of Chengdu’s Garden City movement

Initially, when the Garden city plan for Chengdu was introduced, the local residents of the city locals were promised 3 main outcomes. A comfortable living environment, restored ecology and environmental surroundings and finally equal access to resources and supplies for all. Overall these were meant to positively impact Chengdu’s society and make it a more “liveable” area. From an economic perspective, Chengdu was also targeted to be the next main city in China, aimed to bring in more wealth and economic growth due to its geographical placement and access to rich resources amongst nature. This plan was meant to drive up the value of the economy in Chengdu as the place would now attract more tourists, businesses and residents.

Fig 1. Chengdu’s role amongst urban development and outgrowth in China Source: 王菲. 2012. “一个现代田园城市的探究 The Study Material Of The Modern Garden City”. Presentation.

When looking at these promises that the government gave the people of Chengdu and then comparing them to the outcome that we see today, it is noted that although they have not disregarded their promises, they are working more in favour of the governments “great western development” plan in comparison to the individual interests of the people, which of course goes against the original garden city concept of always putting the people first. The development plan resulted in a large boom in Chengdu’s tourism industry, with statistics showing that the city had over 190 Million visitors in 2015, which brought in a huge revenue of over 204 Billion RMB. Many residents actually claim to like the recent developments in Chengdu because of how much attention is being put into it in comparison to other development projects.

However, one issue that many people had is that while working and improving the large green spaces in the city (which would become more focused towards visitors), smaller green spaces in the area go ignored, leaving random patches of open land, old gardens and unused spaces throughout residential areas. Although these spaces are often reutilized by the people anyways, it is still a minor issue that is ignored by the developers in the area. The utopian goals of the government on such a large scale and from a top-down approach have made them neglect smaller local issues which are what directly affect society in the short term. This is quite common in large cities with huge development plans where the individual can no longer be catered for, and in this case, it goes against what citizens of the area were initially promised.

  1. Chinagoabroad. 2019.“Chengdu Benefits From China’S One Belt, One Road Strategy”.Chinagoabroad – Where China Meets The World.
  2. Yumin, YE, and Richard LeGates. 2013. Coordinating Urban And Rural Development In China. 1st ed. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub. Ltd. pg 311-322.




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