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中国的命运在城市

Hal Harvey 2013年05月17日

城市是中国经济增长的引擎。因而其形态将决定中国的发展程度。

    中国的未来就在于城市的未来,这具有重大意义。到2030年,将有10亿中国人在城市居住,城市是这个国家经济增长的引擎。因此,这些城市的形态将决定中国的发展程度。中国的能源模式、用水甚至农业都将受到所选择的城市形态的推动。

    设计巧妙的城市具有高质量的建筑、广阔的公共空间、不同用途的灵活配置、世界一流的交通系统、干净的空气和水,这样的城市真正是一个富裕的经济体与和谐社会的基础。这些品质似乎是一份长长的、甚至是乌托邦式的清单。但事实证明,只要在初期做出几项至关重要的选择,就能实现这些品质。做不到这点,中国就将面对绝对黯淡的未来。

    这些关键选择是什么?城市形态如何推动了农业、水和能源?对包括中国在内的世界各地的城市做个调查,就能找到明确的答案。

    让我们从城市布局这一简单问题开始讲起。设想两种对立的城市设计模型,两种模型占地相同,容纳的市民数量也相同。一种模型将各种用途彼此分割开来,某些街区用于住人,某些用于购物,另外一些用于商业。每种用途集中在“超级街区”之中,也就是我们今天在很多中国新社区中看到的长达半公里的建筑群。这些超级街区又与大量多车道的大马路相连。

    不难想到,选择这种布局,将造成一个依赖于汽车的经济体。人们必须远距离购物、上班、看病、接送孩子上学。不太容易看到的是,由于缺乏小一些的辅路,即使是大马路也会迅速变得拥堵。所有车辆都集中在主要道路上,结果就是导致交通瘫痪的拥堵。不久前中国的研究表明,与具备了通过性更强的交通网络的多用途布局相比,这种超级街区式的分割式布局的交通能耗要高两倍。

    不幸的是,这种模式会催生更多的相同的模式。不可避免的交通拥堵会推动人们修建更多的车道、更多的高速公路,等等。开发商从中获得经济利益,中国一直以狭隘的经济指标而不是更宏观的宜居性标准来考评各地的市长,这些都推动了这种模式的发展。这样的循环造成了巨大的能源需求,占用了大量土地和开阔空间,就连城市周边的农耕地也被占用。

    另一种建筑格局是采取混合用途,围绕着数量更多但小一些的街道,开发一个提供多种交通方式选择的网络,确保每个街区都有公园、娱乐设施、购物场所,等等。通过建设满足日常生活的大部分需求的社区——全天开放并适用于各年龄段的人——就可以缓解交通,提高生活质量。拥有小街道的小型街区让步行、骑自行车和公共交通变得更加可行。

    因此,除了节省能源和土地,这种配置的一大好处是大大提高了宜居性。事实证明,人们喜欢拥有购物、上班、上学、看病、娱乐和居住的诸多功能一应俱全的社区。此外,为所有市民而不只是有车一族提供出行方便对于生活质量来说无疑也非常重要。目前,中国的汽车保有率不足5%,但大部分中国城市已经遭受了严重的交通拥堵。不难看出,汽车继续增加只会让情况更加恶化。

    除了城市布局,我们还必须考虑交通问题。眼下,没人对交通状况满意。有三个解决方案,概念都很简单,成本也低,但有赖于巧妙的执行。它们是:一流的公共交通系统,包括快速公交系统、步行和骑自行车。

    快速公交系统(BRT)是一种先进的工程设计,它具备地铁的速度和载客量,但成本只有地铁的5%到10%。这可具有重要意义:同样的载重,成本却低90%,这是一个可以改变城市面貌的重大变化。

    China’s future is, significantly, an urban future. By 2030, one billion Chinese will live in cities, and cities are the economic engine of the country. The form of these cities, then, will determine how China prospers. China’s energy patterns, water use and even agriculture will all be driven by choices made in urban form.

    Brilliantly designed cities, with high-quality buildings, generous public spaces, a lively mix of uses, world-class transportation, and clean air and water are truly the basis of a prosperous economy and a harmonious society. That seems like a long, even utopian, list. But it turns out that a few, crucially important choices, made early on, can deliver those qualities. Failing that task will leave China with decidedly worse prospects.

    What are those key choices? How can urban form drive agriculture, water, and energy? Surveying cities across the world, including in China, makes the answers clear.

    Begin the simple question of urban layout. Imagine two competing models of urban design, each housing the same number of citizens in the same area. One model isolates each use from the other, with housing in some neighborhoods, shopping in others, and business in still others. Each use is concentrated in “super-blocks,” the half-kilometer compounds that we see in many new developments in China. These super-blocks are linked with enormous, multi-lane boulevards.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that this choice of layout creates a car-dependent economy. People have to cover long distances to shop, go to work, visit a clinic, and take the kids to school. What is less obvious is that even large boulevards become quickly congested due to the lack of smaller secondary roads. All traffic is concentrated on main road. Paralyzing traffic jams result. Recent studies in China show that this isolate layout with superblocks creates a trebling of transportation energy, compared to mixed uses with a more permeable transportation network.

    Unfortunately, this pattern incites more of the same. The inevitable traffic jams create calls for more lanes, more highways, and so forth. The economic gains made by developers and the fact that mayors in China have been judged by narrow economic indicators and not not broader measures of livability propels the process forward. And this cycle creates large energy demands, consumes large amounts of land and open space, and displaces the agricultural lands surrounding the city.

    The alternative architecture is to mix uses, develop a rich network of transportation options on more, but smaller, streets, and ensure that each neighborhood features parks, recreation, shopping, and the like. By creating neighborhoods that meet the majority of daily needs, and which are attractive for all ages, at all hours, it is possible to cut traffic and increase the quality of life. Smaller blocks with small streets make biking, walking, and public transportation more feasible.

    So, besides the energy and land savings, the big bonus to this kind of configuration is that it is much more livable. It turns out that people like neighborhoods with many different options – shopping, work, school, healthcare, recreation, and housing all intermingled. And, not surprisingly, providing mobility for all citizens, not just those with cars, is important to the quality of life. Fewer than 1 in 20 Chinese currently own a car, yet most Chinese cities already suffer terrible traffic jams. It’s simple math to see that more cars will only exacerbate the situation.

    After urban layout, one must consider transportation. No one is satisfied with the state of the field today. The three answers are simple in concept, low in cost, but require sophisticated execution. They are: First class public transit, including vus rapid transit, walking, and biking.

    Public transit cannot be an afterthought. It must be a core consideration of any Chinese city. To successfully compete against the car, public transit must be fast, clean, reliable, safe, and convenient. Metro lines are a great step in the right direction. They should be complemented with a rethink of buses—employing bus rapid transit.

    Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a sophisticated engineering approach that produces subway speeds and capacity at only five to 10 percent of the cost of a subway. That is a big deal: the same capacity with 90 percent cost reduction is an urban game changer.

广州快速公交系统建成前后对比图

    要了解它是怎么做到的,让我们看看广州新建的快速公交系统。该系统每天运送80万乘客,比这个城市的任何一条地铁线都多,但它只用了9个月就建成了。快速公交系统如何实现这一成绩?它一定要满足数项要求:首先,公交车必须拥有中间车道的专用出入口。出入口专用可以避免公交车与汽车抢道,使用中间车道可以避免小汽车转弯造成的延误。公交车配备了响应器,在接近红绿灯的时候令绿灯亮起。单这两项创新就让公交车的行驶速度接近了地铁。

    其次,公交车驶入的是正规车站,而不是寻常的停靠站。它们有什么区别?人们要在进车站前而不是上车前付费。所以,公交车不必为了收费而等待。这种公交车是普通公交车的两到三倍长,配有成排的车门,它们距地面的高度与站台平齐,这一排门一打开,所有人都像坐地铁那样蜂拥上下车。

    还有另外数项巧妙的设计:电子售票系统、先进的控制和调度系统;与支线系统、自行车与步行线路之间的协调设计。实现所有这些并不昂贵,但是必须经过精妙的安排。做对了,一个廉价、快速、高质量的交通系统就展现在你面前。

    必须注意的是快速公交系统需要从一开始就进行智能设计,并且全程进行智能管理。快速公交系统绝不是地铁的替代品,而是一个很好的补充。

    公共交通系统很了不起,但并非适合所有出行或所有人。另外两种解决方案在中国和全世界都有源远流长的历史:骑自行车和步行。这些手段非常平凡,而且廉价、健康、安静,没有碳排放,可达性高,也让社区变得更加宜居。这些都是极大的优点。

    交通的铁律是:只要建成,就有人来。洛杉矶建造了无尽长度的高速公路,造成了无尽拥堵。哥本哈根修建自行车道,即便那里的天气很少有好的时候,但该市仍有40%的出行方式是骑自行车。中国需要重拾一些极好的旧习惯,在所有地方修建自行车道,这将在人们出行、空气质量、身体健康和生活品质等方面产生巨大回报。短于4公里的路程对骑自行车来说最理想。使用新型的电动自行车可以轻松将这一里程翻番。8公里的行动半径可以覆盖方圆200平方公里的地区。

    但如果骑车有危险,人们也不会采纳。骑自行车与汽车争道绝不是件好玩的事,通常都很危险。骑自行车的人可以比任何一种其它的交通方式更有效地利用空间,但它毕竟还是需要空间。

    最终,我们说说最基础的交通方式:步行。所有旅程都以步行开始,以步行结束,所以城市规划者需要让步行成为合理的选择。方法很简单,不过经常被忽略:小型街区和小街道、树阴、空间共用和漂亮的人行道。

    这三项策略——一流的公共交通系统、骑自行车和步行——都是汽车的高质量替代方案。在中国,任何交通拥堵所浪费的时间,都应该能让各地的市长们相信,寻找汽车的替代方案有多么重要。但是,正如很多中国和国际城市的市长们所认识到的,这种方案还必须通过控制汽车来加以补充完善。根据简单的经济学原理,如果什么东西定价过低,它就将被过度使用。街道和高速公路的使用价格为零造成了拥堵。这是非常简单的道理。结果在中国的大部分地区也是显然易见的。

    控制汽车的正确策略是什么?有很多种:伦敦和新加坡对在交通高峰时间进入城市商业区的汽车征收拥堵费;上海严格限制颁发新车牌的数量,令申领汽车牌照成本高昂;东京要求有意购车者证明自己拥有停车的地方;旧金山正试行在停车场车位将满时提高停车费;哥本哈根在城市交通拥挤期的7/8时间内,将通向城市的街道的红绿灯全部变为红灯。

    中国城市的正确策略需要通过实验确定,各地的策略也会各不相同。但没有策略只会招至长期的交通拥堵。

    将这些问题捆绑在一起的,是一个核心的力量:中国为其城市融资的方式。中国的大部分税收收入归中央政府。各地市长需要为饮用水、污水、街道、公共建筑、地方管理、警察部门、建筑监管单位等事物融资。为了筹集现金,他们不得不向开发商出售土地(从技术上说,是长期租赁)。

    这种交易正是今日开发面积超大、用途单一、易发生拥堵的社区的本质所在。 对市长们而言,远为简单、高效的办法是把一大块土地(通常为0.5平方公里,即25公顷)卖给开发商,由开发商负责街区的全部规划、基建和设计工作。开发商反过来可以快速行动,在建造十几处同样的单一用途建筑时避免了争执。不幸的是,造成市长与开发商短视的原因也毁掉了这座城市。

    实行替代方案时不我待。城市需要从地产税上获取运行所需的收入、从债券市场上来改善资本支出,所有这些需要做到透明和公开。此外还要采取更为先进的解决方案。中国的市长们应该更好地利用污染收费,并对开发商收取费用,以应对公共基础设施方面的需求。这些举措将创造稳定的收入流,同时有助于让环境变得更加健康。

    综上所述,我们可以看到有4大好处:第一,城市变得更加宜居,街区富于活力,拥堵缓解,并拥有更好的交通替代方案。第二,交通能耗下降,最多达三分之二,相应的空气污染也会有所减轻。第三及第四,通过限制扩张,中国城市将减少对水的消费和对耕地的占用 。中国有一部分最高产的耕地位于城市周边,如果用它们来盖住宅楼,将会使缺水现象更加严重,农民也要被迫迁移。

    中国在过去30年的发展无论从深度和广度还是从它带来的经济变革看都有如史诗一般。现在,这一变革要进入下一个方向,这次中国必须重视生活质量和环境保护。把城市建设好是实现这一步的唯一途径。(财富中文网)

    译者:天逸

    作者简介:霍尔·哈维(Hal Harvey)是能源创新:政治与技术有限责任公司(Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC)首席执行官,保尔森中心(Paulson Institute)高级研究员。

    To see how this works, check out the new BRT in Guangzhou. It hauls 800,000 passengers per day, more than any metro line in the city—but it was built in only nine months. How does BRT achieve this? A half-dozen requirements must be met: First, the buses need exclusive access to the middle lanes. Exclusive to avoid traffic conflicts with cars, and the middle lanes to avoid delays caused by turning cars. The buses are equipped with transponders that turn lights green as they approach. These two innovations alone give them travel speeds close to metros.

    Then, buses roll into stations, not stops. The difference? People pay to get into a station, rather than to get into a bus. So the bus need not wait for the fare. The buses themselves are double or triple long, with a wall of doors, and they pull up to platforms level with the bus. The wall of doors opens, everyone piles off and on, just like a subway.

    Another dozen refinements await: electronic ticketing, sophisticated control systems and dispatch, coordination with feeder systems, bike and pedestrian links, and so forth. Putting this all together is not expensive, but requires great sophistication. When you get it right, a cheap, fast, high-quality transportation system emerges.

    It must be noted that BRT requires a commitment to smart design at the start, and smart management throughout. And BRT is not a replacement for metros, but a great supplement.

    Public transit is crucial, but is not the right thing for all trips or all people. The other two solutions have a deep history in China, and across the world: Biking and walking. These are mundane. They are also cheap, healthy, quiet, accessible to all, emit zero carbon, and help make neighborhoods more livable. That’s a pretty nice set of attributes.

    The iron rule of transportation is: If you build it, they will come. Los Angeles built endless highway miles, and has endless traffic jams. Copenhagen built bike paths, and even though the climate there is rarely lovely, has 40% of trips by bike. China needs to revert to some old, brilliant habits, and create bike lanes everywhere. The payback in mobility, clean air, health, and quality of life will be profound. Trips of under 4 kilometers are ideal for a bike. The new e-bikes can easily double that range. And an eight kilometer radius covers over 200 km-sq of ground.

    But if biking is dangerous, people will stop. Competing with cars on a bike is never fun, and is usually dangerous. Bicyclists use space more efficiently than any other mode of transportation, but they do require space.

    Finally comes the most basic mode of all: Walking. Every trip starts and ends with a walk, so city planners need to make that a reasonable choice. The formula is easy, if often neglected: Small blocks and small streets; shade; mixed uses; decent sidewalks.

    These three strategies—first class public transport, biking, and walking—together offer a high-quality alternative to the car. Any time spent in China’s traffic jams should convince mayors of just how important that is. But, as the mayors of many Chinese and international cities recognize, this needs to be complemented by car control. Simple economics argues that if you underprice something, it will be overused. Pricing streets and highways at zero creates congestion. That’s pretty simple. And that result is evident in most in China.

    What are the right strategies for car control? There are a dozen flavors: London and Singapore have congestion pricing, charging cars to come into downtown areas at busy times. Shanghai strictly limits the number of new license plates it issues, making it very costly to register a car. Tokyo requires prospective car buyers to prove they have a parking place. San Francisco is experimenting with raising parking prices whenever they start to fill up. And Copenhagen turns the lights on streets into the city red for 7/8 of the time when it gets crowded.

    The right strategy for China’s cities will be found by experimentation, and may differ from place to place. But having no strategy is a recipe for ever-longer traffic jams.

    There is one core force that ties all these issues together: The way China finances its cities. Most tax revenue in China goes to the central government. Mayors need funds for water, sewage, streets, civic buildings, and for running the place, with police, building inspectors, and so forth. To raise this cash, they are forced to sell land to developers (long-term leases, technically).

    And it is this transaction that is at the heart of today’s superblock, single-use, congestion-inducing development. For the mayors, it is far easier and expeditious to sell a large piece of land (typically a half-kilometer square, or 25 hectares) to a developer, and let the developer do all the planning, infrastructure, and design for that block. Developers, in turn, can move quickly and avoid hassles if they get to build the same structure, with a single use, in a dozen copies. Unfortunately, what makes short-term sense for the mayor and the developer fails the city.

    The alternative is time-tested: City revenues for operation need to come from property tax, and for capital improvements, from bond markets. And both systems need to be transparent and publically accessible. More cutting edge solutions should also be adopted. China’s mayors should make greater use of pollution charges and charge fees to developers to reflect demands on public infrastructure. These will help create stable revenue streams while contributing to a healthier environment.

    Wrap this all together, and four great benefits emerge: First, the cities are far more livable, with lively neighborhoods, less congestion, and better transportation alternatives. Second, energy use for transportation drops—by as much as two-thirds, and with it the attendant air pollution. Third and fourth, by containing sprawl, Chinese cities will use less water and consume less farmland. Some of the most productive farmlands in China lie outside the city boundaries: If these are turned into more housing compounds, they will exacerbate water shortages and displace farmers.

    China’s development over the last three decades has been heroic in scope and scale, and in the economic transformations it has brought. This transformation needs the next turn—which must be for quality of life and preservation of the environment. And getting the cities right is the only way to do that.

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