Shanghai's waterfront. (Photo/Xinhua)
Plans are afoot to develop Hengsha, a densely populated island off the coast of Shanghai, by building a deep-water new harbor and a new ocean town that will eventually transform the island into a second Pudong district, Guangzhou's Time Weekly reports.
Following 22 years of development, Pudong is now an engine for the economic and social development of Shanghai.
Hengsha, in Chongming county, currently covers an area of 49 square kilometers, which will be expanded by reclaiming from the sea to eventually cover 480 square kilometers. This would bring its size on a par with Pudong during the initial period of its development, the report said.
Also under the plan, a deep water harbor will be built by 2020. A coastline of more than 100 kilometers will also be formed, including a 50 kilometer stretch with water 20 meters deep. This is expected to allow Shanghai Harbor to maintain its advantage in handling capacity and transform itself into an international navigation center.
The project still has several problems that need to be resolved. The first involves dealing with the issue of land scarcity in the densely populated city, whose permanent population had increased rapidly to 23.47 million by last year. For every 10,000 people added to the municipality's population, an additional 660 to 1,155 of acreage is needed.
Meanwhile, the considerable volume of dredged mud drawn from the river can be transformed into materials used for filling the coastal land.
However, the project has triggered debate about its feasibility among many experts, some of whom have questioned whether 2020 is a realistic deadline for its completion.