Academic journal article China Perspectives

Duoguiheyi: Chinese Planning Faces the Test of Integration

Academic journal article China Perspectives

Duoguiheyi: Chinese Planning Faces the Test of Integration

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)


On 26 August 2014, the "Information note on the launching of 'duoguiheyi1 (...) pilot projects in towns and districts"(1) was published on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), with duoguiheyi^ meaning literally "the integration of several plans into one." This directive of the central government in three articles, short, clear, and synthetic, in fact marks a major change of framework in Chinese planning.

Article 1 stipulates that this policy is intended to:

Unify or integrate a number of existing planning processes in a given geographical area, namely: economic and social development planning, urban and rural planning, land use planning, and planning for the protection of the environment. For each district or urban area in China, the objective is now to rely on "a single planning process, a single plan" to eradicate the current situation of compartmentalised planning, which creates conflicts in content and lack of coordination between plans.

In Article 2 appears the watchword that characterises the action of duoguiheyi: "rationalising" four aspects of planning: "durations, objectives, missions, and the coordinating governance of spatial planning." Finally, Article 3 decrees the launching of pilot projects throughout China to implement this policy.

The directive was promulgated jointly by four major ministries, and it is interesting to note the order in which they are cited: first the N DRC,(3) followed by the two ministries MLR and MEP, and only lastly the MoHURD. The order of appearance is never insignificant in Chinese texts, as it reflects the result of arbitration at the top levels of the state. Yet the MoHURD, the most technically legitimate in the integration of plans, is relegated to last in order of appearance, confirming the supremacy of the NDRC as the ministry in charge of duoguiheyi.

In fact, duoguiheyi thus defined can be considered a major shift of paradigm (if not a "revolution") of the Chinese system of planning towards integration. Indeed, since the launch of reforms in 1978 and following China's economic growth, the number of planning exercises has multiplied in a host of domains that concern the cities, at all administrative levels and to various degrees.

Developed and implemented independently of one another, the planning processes of the various ministries are mainly marked by a serious lack of coordination, resulting in major contradictions and hindering the growth processes of cities and districts. The main task of duoguiheyi is therefore to put in place a system to coordinate the various plans and put an end to what has become a chaotic situation.

This central government directive is in fact the culmination of a long process emanating from the local level, since the need for integration has been felt on the ground since the end of the 1990s. Its appearance in official texts thus conversely reveals the lack of integration that has governed spatial planning in China over the last decades. Essentially interdisciplinary, because it aims at a transversal integration of plans, its success necessarily involves vertical reform of the institutions. This "institutional revolution" put in place fully corresponds to the spirit of the "work of general deepening of reform of the central government,"(4) which has been the political watchword since Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang came to power.

We therefore propose in this article to study this movement, its causes, and its prospects for evolution. We will refer to the official texts of current policies, as well as to the abundant Chinese academic literature on the subject: more than 490 Chinese academic articles and publications have dealt with this subject since 1988, with a significant increase between 2014 and 2015.(5) The sources consulted on duoguiheyi also come from several disciplines, as befits the variety of fields involved: city planning, the environment, energy, urban geography, political science, etc. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.