Prefecture-level cities are one level below the capital cities in China’s administrative hierarchy. In a government survey of 156 prefecture-level cities in 12 provinces, over 90 percent were planning for the development of new metropolitan districts. Additionally, the 12 provincial capital cities were planning for a total of 55 new districts. One city was found to be planning 13 new districts. At the same time, the planned areas of the new districts continue to increase in size.
Experts have expressed concern for such a pace of "urbanization." One problem is the blind pursuit of large urban districts. In the same city, many features are being duplicated and the construction is redundant. There are also concerns about over-investment, potential bad debts, and more "ghost" towns.
Source: People’s Daily Online, April 20, 2014