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Exploring urban governance innovation

Author  :  WEI SIYU     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-03-06

Much has yet to be done to facili-tate China’s urban governance and its modern transformation, scholars observed.

We need to resolve urban issues by improving traffic and increas-ing access to education and medi-cal services, so as to meet people’s growing desire for a better life, said Zheng Shuiquan, vice chair-man of the University Council of Renmin University of China (RUC). Essentially, the level of state governance is shown in the country’s capacity to run its cities.

Despite the great achievements of China’s modernization, there is still a gap between China and some developed countries in terms of urban governance. As such, Zheng concluded that we need to change our philosophy of and approaches to urban gover-nance as well as the system and mechanism behind it.

To be specific, regarding our philosophy of governance, we need to replace the mindset of “managing the city” with “govern-ing the city.” As for how our cities are run, Zheng said that we need to transition from rough planning to meticulous planning, a process in which new technologies such as big data can help. As for the participants in urban governance, enterprises, communities and citizens should also get involved besides the government. Togeth-er, the entire society should build and govern the city and share the fruits of their joint efforts.

Sun Baiying, a professor from the School of Public Administra-tion and Policy (SPAP) at RUC, said that we should seek a break-through in urban governance through institutional improve-ment. We should address the challenges brought by a diverse society by establishing contractu-al relationships in urban life and strengthening legal construction.

Qiu Pei’en, a professor from the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, said that innovating with the urban gover-nance system requires us to break away from the current routine of administrative law enforcement. We need to trim the redundant administrative law enforcement procedures, further integrate the law enforcement team and explore ways to carry out comprehensive, interdisciplinary and interdepart-mental law enforcement.

Zhang Linshan, an associate research fellow at the National Development and Reform Com-mission, shared his views from the perspective of market gover-nance. Zhang suggested focusing more on supervision during and after project implementation in-stead of on pre-implementation approval. Meanwhile, more ef-forts should be made to strength-en supervision over product qual-ity and products concerning food safety and consumers’ health.

Ye Yumin, a professor from the SPAP at RUC, said that a “new dual structure” exists within mar-ginal areas of big cities, which is to say the dual structure between developed central urban areas and backward marginal areas and that of people with and without the registered permanent local residence. There are two direct causes to the phenomenon: the difficulty of spatial governance in urban villages and the availability of housing to new citizens.

Solving the housing issue for migrants should be considered as an important goal of upgrading urban villages. When the housing issue is solved, we can then deal with other problems inside urban villages, Ye said.

Editor: Yu Hui

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