The planning system at the level of metropolitan area in China


  • Runyi Gao Tongji University
  • Hang Li Tongji University


metropolitan areas, development plan, spatial planning, regional planning




Metropolitan area planning serves as a crucial tool for fostering competitiveness and sustainable development. As urbanization accelerates in China, the establishment of metropolitan areas has become a fundamental and strategic priority. Since 2019, the central state has presented metropolitan areas as a new specific type of spatial entity to establish a coordinated urban system. The current metropolitan area planning is being intensively formulated, but it also faces various challenges, including the coexistence of multiple planning types, overlapping planning contents, and unclear positioning. Compared with the bottom-up planning system in Western context, China’s planning system places a stronger emphasis on top-down government control and direction. Therefore, it is essential to systematically analyze and distinguish the types and content of metropolitan area planning to ensure the feasibility of metropolitan area plans from the perspective of the national planning system. This paper reexamines the relationships among development planning, territory spatial planning, regional and specialized planning, and then we establishes an metropolitan area planning system. Furthermore, combining international experience with the specific conditions of China, this article indicates that metropolitan area planning needs to shift from collaborative governance to a national strategy. This paper also emphasizes the transition from coordination among plans to the standardization of planning types, from rigid transmission to dynamic maintenance.