China will ban large-scale property development including towering skyscrapers in an ambitious new economic zone near Beijing, the leading local Communist Party official wrote in an editorial in the People’s Daily on Tuesday.”Every inch of land” in the Xiongan New Area will be carefully and deliberately planned, wrote Zhao Kezhi, party chief of Hebei province, where Xiongan is located. The zone, around 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Beijing, will house some of Beijing’s relocated “non-capital functions”, though few other details have been announced, and most work appears to still be in the planning stages.
News last month of the scheme to set up the zone – to be modelled on the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone that helped kickstart China’s economic reforms in 1980 – sent land prices soaring and prompted government warnings against speculation. Zhao said Xiongan will not engage in “land finance”, referring to the practice of local governments’ reliance on revenue from selling land to developers for funding, and will effectively manage land prices, home prices and rents.
Policymakers are also stressing green development in Xiongan, which Zhao reinforced by saying there would be no “high-rises, concrete jungles or glass curtains”. “We must further free our minds … and strive to draw the most beautiful picture on a piece of blank paper,” he wrote.