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City's new administrative divisions to benefit residents and boost development
    Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau recently released a new version of Shanghai's administrative divisions. By the end of June this year, Shanghai had 16 districts, 105 sub-districts, 107 towns, and two townships.
    Since 2014, the city has merged several districts and branched out more sub-districts. New sub-districts are mainly located in the suburbs. Some small sub-districts on the fringe of the city center were either cancelled or merged with bigger ones.
    Experts say the population in downtown districts varies greatly, which causes difficulty for administrative management. Through readjustment, small districts were either cancelled or merged, so that the government's function can be streamlined and the management cost reduced. Also, it can equalize the districts' management responsibilities, and form a fair evaluation and reward system.
    The downtown districts financial resources also vary greatly, so as the districts' public service capability. Due to historical reasons, high quality educational, medical, and cultural resources were concentrated in Huangpu, Jing'an and Luwan districts. 
    Through administrative division readjustment, the peripheral districts' development, public service, and citizens' livelihood have been improved and become more balanced.
    In the near future, six towns in downtown area will all be converted to sub-districts. 
    Li Jian, researcher of City and Population Development Institute in the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said expansion of sub-districts is inevitable in the process of urbanization, so most of these new sub-districts appear in peripheral areas of the city center. 
    Also, as the city center keeps spreading out and real estate business booms in areas between the Middle Ring Road and the Outer Ring Road, more and more people are attracted to those new sub-districts.
    Education and police resources are usually allocated according to the registered population. Town governments usually don't have enough financial resource to cover all its residents. 
    When the towns are incorporated into bigger administrative regions, there will be enough financial resources for public service and management, Li said.
    In the future, Shanghai will form 23 city town circles, breaking the old resources distribution system according to administrative division, and strengthen urban-rural integration. 
    In the city planning, the 107 towns in Shanghai will be divided into four categories, namely, two core towns in Chengqiao area of Chongming District and Binhai area of Jinshan District respectively; the central towns, or well-developed towns, such as Luodian, Anting, and Zhu Jiajiao; towns in proximity to downtown area and located along the Outer Ring Road, such as Nanxiang, Jiangqiao, and Jiuting; and average towns, such as towns with relatively lower urbanization.
    Li said the classification also has to depend on the town's natural environment, economy, and opportunities. The resources allocation for the towns needs to be further studied to maximize benefits for local residents.
    The future Shanghai suburbs will be divided into town circles. Within each circle public resources will be shared. For example, one town has better educational resources, the other has more developed business, and another is a traffic hub, then all three towns will benefit from each other's resources when they are incorporated into one circle.