Chinese President Xi Jinping has a plan to link 130 million people across Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei into a single megalopolis, the Jing-Jin-Ji region ("Jing" for Beijing, "Jin" for Tianjin and "Ji" for Hebei).
In a plan that has been debated for decades, President Xi has made a number of moves to relieve the pressures of tourism, pollution and industry on Beijing, and help to develop some of the poorer surrounding regions.
The planned supercity would be an estimated
six times the size of New York's metro, and is meant to reform the Chinese economy and create a more modern economic structure.
Liu Gang, a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin told the New York Times that the supercity will be the "vanguard of economic reform," with analysts agreeing that the project will help use resources far more equitably across the three areas.
While the northern region's gross domestic product was US$1 trillion in 2o13, the wealth is spread unevenly with
per-capita GDP in Beijing being US$15,000, Tianjin at US$11,500 and Hebei's at just US$6,300.
upheaval of China's municipal government, including thousands of civil servants, to the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou by 2017. Historically located within the imperial city, officials have said that decades of government workers living and working near the Forbidden City has worsened traffic problems and is slowly destroying Beijing's old city.
estimated to cost in the trillions to build.
While improving the current infrastructure will undoubtedly be critical for the project, some have pointed to changes needed at the government level to make this project a success.
Zhang Gui, a professor at the Hebei University of Technology has
said that this new supercity would require a complete overhaul of how the government operates.
"This is a huge project and is more complicated that roads and rail. But if it can succeed, it will change the face of northern China."