"Jing-Jin-Ji" is on the road to becoming a metropolis much like Tokyo, New York City, London, or Mexico City—except with many more people than all those cities put together. After years of trying to limit Beijing's population, the Chinese government is now working on integrating it with the city of Tianjin and parts of Hebei province to create an urban area with 130 million people, which is more than the population of all but nine of the world's countries, the New York Times reports in a look at the emerging "super city." The plan, which is believed to be the "pet project" of Chinese President Xi Jinping, calls for integration by 2020 into a metropolis almost the size of Idaho, the South China Morning Post reports.
In recent months, moves to spread things like government departments—and polluting industries—around the region have been stepped up. High-speed-rail links, like the one that has cut traveling time from Beijing to Tianjin from three hours to 37 minutes, are at the heart of the Jing-Jin-Ji plan, the Times reports, but for now, many of the area's residents are struggling with ridiculously long commutes and are living in hastily built suburbs with little infrastructure. "The streets flood in the rain because there is no good drainage," a resident of Yanjiao, population 700,000, tells the Times. "They just built more and more apartments without the most basic facilities." (The Great Wall, meanwhile, is disappearing.)