National Territory Spatial Planning (NTSP) is a guide for the nation’s space development and a blueprint for sustainable development, and a basis for all kinds of development, protection, and construction activities. Establishing a NTSP system with its supervision and implementation, integrating spatial planning such as the Development Priority Planning, the Land Use Planning, and the Urban-Rural Planning, etc., into a unified the NTSP, realizing the “multiple planning in one”, and strengthening the guidance and constrain of the NTSP to various specific planning, are significant deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. To establish a NTSP system with its supervision and implementation, the following opinions are put forward.
Spatial planning at various levels and types have played positive roles in supporting the rapid development of urbanization and promoting the rational use and effective protection of territorial space. However, there are also problems such as excessive types of planning, overlapping and conflicting contents, complex approval procedures, and constant changes in local plans. Establishing a NTSP system with national unity, clearly defined responsibilities, scientific and efficient powers, planning the development and protection of territorial space in the New Era, taking into account factors such as population distribution, economic distribution, land use, and ecological and environmental protection, and making scientific arrangements for production, living, and ecological space, are key measures to accelerate the formation of green modes of production and life, to promote ecological civilization, and to build a beautiful China, and are important means to continue to put people centered, to achieve high-quality development and high-level life, and to build a better homeland, and are necessities to ensure the effective implementation of the national strategy, to modernize China's governance system and capacity, and to realize the ‘Two Centenary Goals’ and the Chinese Dream of great national renewal.
Guided by Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the second, third, fourth, and fifth plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, stick firmly to the coordinated implementation of the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy, adhere to the new concept of development, insist the people as center, and actuality-oriented practices. In accordance with the requirements for high-quality development, well formulate the top-level design of NTSP, give full play to its basic role in the national planning system, and provide spatial guarantee for the implementation of National Development Planning. Improve the system for developing and protecting territorial space to be strategic, more scientific, more authoritative, more coordinated, and more operational, so to ensure that national territory spatial development and protection are of higher quality, more efficient, fairer, and more sustainable.
By 2020, basically establish a NTSP, and gradually put in place the preparation and approval system, the monitoring and implementation system, the regulations and policies system, and technical standards system for the ‘Multiple Planning in One’. Complete the preparation of the Comprehensive NTSP at and above the city and county levels, and initially formulate an ‘One Map’ for the territorial space development and protection of the whole country. By 2025, perfect the laws, policies, and technical standards system for the NTSP, and fully implement the monitoring, early warning, and performance appraisal mechanisms for territorial space, and formulate a system for developing and protecting the country’s territorial space based on the NTSP and by the unified usage-control. By 2035, comprehensively modernize the country’s system and capacity for territorial space governance, and create a secure, harmonious, competitive, and sustainable territorial space with intensive and efficient production-space, livable and appropriate living-space, and ecological-space with beautiful mountains and clear water.
(3)Establish the NTSP by Levels and Classes
The NTSP is to make the spatial and temporal arrangements for the development and protection of territorial space in given region, including Comprehensive Planning, Detailed Planning, and relevant Specific Planning. The state, provinces, cities, and counties shall prepare their Comprehensive NTSP, and all localities shall prepare their towns and townships NTSP in light of their actual conditions. Relevant Special Planning refers to special arrangements for spatial development, protection, and utilization in specific regions (river basins) and areas to reflect specific functions and refers to special planning involving space utilization. The Comprehensive NTSP is the basis for Detailed Planning and the basis for the relevant Specific Planning. Relevant Special Planning should be coordinated with each other and link with the Detailed Planning.
(4)Make Clear the Priorities of Each Level’s Comprehensive NTSP
The NTSP is an overall arrangement of the nation’s territorial space, and a policy and general outline for the protection, development, utilization, and restoration of the nation’s territorial space. It focuses on strategic issues and is prepared by the Ministry of Natural Resources in conjunction with relevant departments and published after examination and approval by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Provincial-level NTSP is to implement the NTSP, guide the formulation of the NTSP for cities and counties, and focus on coordination. It is formulated by provincial-level governments and submitted to the State Council for examination and approval after deliberation by the Standing Committee of the People's Congress at the same level. The NTSPs of cities, counties, and towns are detailed implementation of the NTSP requirements from the superior NTSP, by the corresponding governments, and are specific arrangement for the development and protection of their respective administrative areas, with emphasis on implementation. The Comprehensive NTSP of the city’s that need to be submitted to the State Council for examination and approval shall be formulated by the municipal government and, after deliberation by the Standing Committee of the People's Congress at the same level, submitted by the provincial government to the State Council for examination and approval. The NTSP of other cities, counties, towns and townships shall be formulated and approved by provincial governments in light of their local conditions. Local governments may, in light of their local conditions, combine cities, counties and towns in the formulation of their territorial space plans, or several townships and towns in the formulation of their NTSP.
(5)Strengthen the Guidance and Constraint Effect of the Specific Planning
Specific Planning for coastal zones and protected natural areas, trans-regional or inter-basin NTSP shall be prepared by the department in charge of natural resources at the corresponding or superior level and submitted to the government at the same level for examination and approval. Specific Planning involving the utilization of space, such as municipal engineering including transportation, energy, water conservancy, agriculture, information, infrastructure, etc., and public service facilities, military facilities, and the Specific Planning for ecological and environmental protection, cultural relic protection, forestry and grassland, should be prepared by the relevant departments in the certain field. Relevant Specific Planning can be formulated at the corresponding national, provincial, city and county levels. Specific Planning at different levels and in different regions can be formulated in accordance with the actual conditions.
(6)Formulate Detailed Planning at and below the City and County Level
Detailed Planning is the implementation arrangement of specific piece of land in terms of usage, intensity of development, etc., and is the legal basis for carrying out territorial space development and protection, implementing territorial space use control, issuing planning permits for urban-rural development, and conducting various constructions. Detailed Planning within the boundaries of Urban Development Limit shall be prepared by the natural resources departments at the municipal or county levels and submitted to the governments at the same level for examination and approval. In rural areas outside the boundary of Urban Development Limit, shall be organized in groups with one or more villages, and be prepared with the ‘Multiple Planning in One’ practical village planning, by the township government, and be submitted to the superior government for approval as a detailed plan.
Fully implement the major decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, reflect the will of the state and the strategic nature of National Development Planning, formulate NTSPs at all levels from the top down, and make strategic and systematic arrangements for spatial development. Implement the National Security Strategy, the Regional Coordinated Development Strategy, and the Development Priority Strategy, and define spatial development goals, optimize patterns of urbanization, agricultural production and ecological protection, determine spatial development strategies, transform the ways of developing and protecting territorial space, and improve the quality and efficiency of its development and protection.
(8)Be More Scientific
Give priority to ecology and pursue green development, respect the laws of nature, economy, society and urban-rural development, and formulate planning in light of local conditions. Adhere to the principle of save and protect in advance, and natural recovery as domination. Based on the Evaluation of Resources and Environment Carrying Capacity and Evaluation of Territorial Spatial Development Suitability, scientific and orderly integrate and deploy the functional space such as ecology, agriculture, urban space etc. Demarcate the spatial control limits such as Ecological Protection Red Line, Permanent Basic Farmland, Urban Development Limit, and various kinds of marine protection lines. Strengthen the bottom-line constrains and make room for sustainable development. Adhere to the concept of building a community of life for mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes, and grass. Strengthen zoning management of the ecological environment, limit water supply, protect ecological barriers, build ecological corridors and networks, perserve and restore ecosystems, and carry out environmental impact assessments in accordance with the law. Continue to balance land and sea development, regional coordination, and integration between urban and rural areas. Improve the spatial structure and layout of China's land, coordinate the comprehensive use of land and underground space, improve infrastructure and public service facilities such as transportation and water conservancy, continue our historical context, strengthen the control of landscape features, and highlight regional characteristics. Improve the system of public participation and give full play to the role of experts in different fields. Make full use of urban design, rural promotion and big data to improve planning methods and raise the level of planning.
Strengthen the leading role of National Development Planning and the basic role of territorial space planning. Comprehensive NTSP should coordinate and balance the spatial needs of all related special areas. Detailed NTSP should be formulated and revised in accordance with the approved Comprehensive NTSP. Relevant Specific Planning must comply with and must not violate the mandatory content of the Comprehensive NTSP. Major contents of the Specific Planning must be incorporated into Detailed Planning.
(10)Focus on Operation
Anyone who organizes the formulation should be responsible for its implementation. Clarify key points for the formulation and management of the NTSP at all levels and of all types. Define restrictive planning indicators and rigid control requirements and put forward guiding requirements. Formulate policies and measures for the implementation of the NTSP, set forth requirements for the breakdown and implementation of lower-level Comprehensive NTSP and relevant Specific Planning and Detailed Planning, and improve the transmission mechanism for the implementation of these planning to ensure that they are feasible, workable, and effective.
5.Implementation and Supervision
(11)Strengthen Planning Authority
Once the plan is approved, no department or individual is allowed to modify it at will or change it in violation of regulations. Prevent the change of the plan by another term of party committee or government. NTSPs at lower levels should be subject to NTSP at higher levels, and relevant Specific and Detailed Planning should be subject to Comprehensive NTSP. Adhere to the principle of Planning before Implementing, no development activities are allowed to be in violation of NTSP. Adhere to the principle of ‘Multiple Planning in One’, and no more spatial planning are allowed to be set up other than the NTSP system. Relevant technical standards for relevant Specific Planning should be in line with NTSP. If it is necessary to revise the planning due to major strategic adjustment of the state, major project construction or adjustment of administrative divisions, the amendment may be made in accordance with legal procedures only after obtaining the consent of the planning examination and approval authority. Violations of laws and regulations in the preparation and implementation of the NTSP must be held accountable.
(12)Improve Planning Approval
A review and record system for NTSP must be established at each level based on the principle that anyone who approves the planning is responsible for supervising. Simplified the content of planning formulation, only approve the contents within its duties. Significantly shorten the time required for review and approval. Reduce the quantity of cities that need to be submitted to the State Council for examination and approval. The Comprehensive NTSP of Municipalities Directly under the Central Government, Cities Specifically Listed in the State Plan, provincial capitals, and cities designated by the State Council, should be examined and approved by the State Council. Specific Planning, in the process of formulating and reviewing, should be linked closely to the NTSP and be checked on ‘One Map’, and once approved, should be incorporated into basic territorial space information platforms at the same level and be overlayed on the ‘One Map’ of NTSP.
(13)Improve the Usage Control System
In accordance with the NTSP, impose usage control on all territorial space by zones and by categories. The development within the Urban Development Limit, is to be controlled with the mode of ‘detailed planning + planning permission’. For the development outside Urban Development Limit, according to the zoning of dominant use, is to be controlled by the mode of ‘detailed planning + planning permission’ and ‘obligatory index + zonal admittance’. Special protection system should be imposed on the Natural Preservation Areas, important sea areas and islands, important water sources, and cultural relics, with National Parks as the main body. Develop Usage Control Systems must be tailored to local conditions, leaving room for local management and innovations.
(14)Supervise the Planning Implementation
Relying on the basic information platform for territorial space, establish and improve mechanisms for dynamic monitoring, assessment, early warning, and implementation supervision of NTSP. The competent natural resources departments at higher levels shall, in conjunction with relevant departments, organize supervision and inspection of the implementation of the boundary control requirements, obligatory targets and other control requirements in the NTSP at lower levels, and include the implementation of NTSP in the content of law enforcement inspection for natural resources. Improve the long-term mechanism for monitoring and early warning of the carrying capacity of resources and environment, establish a regular evaluation system for territorial space planning, and dynamically adjust and improve NTSP in light of national economic and social development and the results of regular evaluation of NTSP.
(15)Advance reform of ‘Delegating Power, Improve Regulation, Improving Services’
Based on ‘Multiple Planning in One’, coordinated planning, construction and management, and promoted the ‘Multiple Examination in One’, ‘Multiple Certificates in One’. Optimize the current examination and approval procedures, such as Preliminary Examination of Land (Sea) Use for Development, Site Selection, Development Land Planning Permission and Construction Project Planning Permission, and improve the efficiency of examination and approval, and the level of supervision services.
6.Laws, Policies and Technical Guarantees
(16)Improve the System of Regulations and Policies
Study and formulate the law on the development and protection of territorial space and accelerate the development of laws and regulations related to NTSP. Sort out existing laws, regulations and departmental rules related to NTSP, as to those contents and items of ‘Multiple Planning in One’ reform which conflicts existing laws and regulations, ask for approval in accordance with relevant procedures, and implement after obtaining authorization. Ensure the laws and regulations well-coordinated in the transitional period. Improve supporting policies to meet the requirements of Development Priority Zones and ensure the effective implementation of NTSP.
(17)Improve the Technical Standard System
In accordance with the requirement of ‘Multiple Planning in One’, the Ministry of Natural Resources, together with relevant departments, are responsible for establishing a unified technical standard system for NTSP, revising and improving the classification standards of the survey on the status of land and resources and the land use of NTSP, and formulating measures and technical regulations for the formulation of NTSP at all levels and of all types.
(18)Improve the Basic Information Platform for Territorial Space
Based on the natural resources survey and monitoring data, a unified national surveying and mapping base and system should be adopted to integrate all kinds of spatially related data, and a unified national basic information platform for territorial space will be established. Taking national spatial information platform as the base plate, combining the formulation of NTSP at various levels, complete the spatial basic information platform development simultaneously, precisely layout the strategy of Development Priority Zones and all kinds of spatial control elements, gradually formed a ‘One Map’ for the NTSP of whole country. Promoting the data sharing between government departments and the information interaction between government and society.
(19)Strengthen organizational leadership
All regions and departments should implement the requirements of development and protection of territorial space, set out in the National Development Planning. Give full play to the strategic guidance and rigid control role of the NTSP system in the development and protection of territorial space, guide the use of all types of space, and clearly plan every inch of land. Adhere to the bottom-line thinking, based on resource endowment and environmental carrying capacity, accelerate the establishment of a baseline for ensuring ecological functions, a baseline for environmental quality and safety, and an upper limit for the utilization of natural resources. Strictly implement the plan with the spirit of nail for a long continuous time, work out the blueprint to the end. Local party committees and governments at all levels should fully understand the significance of establishing the system of NTSP, and the principal officer should personally fulfill the government's main responsibility of preparation and implementation of NTSP. Clearly define the division of responsibilities, allocate the funds for work, strengthen the team building, strengthen the supervision and assessment, and do a good job in publicity and education.
(20)Implement Working Responsibilities
All regions and departments should step up guidance, coordination and management of plans related to spatial layout in their respective industries and fields, formulate policies conducive to the formulation and implementation of territorial space plans, clarify timetables and roadmaps, and form synergy. Organization, human Resources, audit, and other departments should consider including the implementation of NTSP into the audit of natural resources and assets for outgoing leading officials, as an important reference for the comprehensive assessment and evaluation of leading party and government officials. Discipline inspection and supervision authorities should strengthen supervision. Development and Reform, Finance, Banking, Taxation, Natural Resources, Ecological Environment, Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and other departments should formulate and improve supporting policies for Development Priority Zones. Departments in charge of natural resources shall, in collaboration with relevant departments, speed up the legislative work of NTSP. Organization departments should pay attention to improving the planning consciousness in the education and training of local party committees and government principals. Education departments should study and strengthen the construction of disciplines related to NTSP. The Ministry of Natural Resources should strengthen its overall planning and coordination work, effectively fulfill its responsibilities, and work with relevant departments in accordance with the overall framework of the NTSP system to constantly improve the design of the system, accelerate the establishment of the planning examination and approval system, implementation supervision system, regulations and policies system and technical standards system, and strengthen the construction of professional teams and industry management. The Ministry of Natural Resources shall regularly supervise and inspect the implementation of these opinions, and timely report major matters to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.
Translated by Zheng Shujian