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[2011 Beijing Forum] Urban Sub-panel: Urban Transformation and the Future of Mankind

NOV . 01 2011

【Editor’s Notes】The 8th Beijing Forum, joint sponsored by Peking University, Beijing Education Commission and Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, will take off in Beijing from November 3rd to November 6th, 2011. Under the theme of Harmonies Civilization and Common Prosperity-Tradition and Modernity, Revolution and Transition, scholars from various countries and regions will gather to discuss issues related to Tradition and Modernity, Revolution and Transition, so as to promote harmony and prosperity of civilization in joint efforts. On the eve of forum, PKU News center made exclusive interviews to sub-panel administrators about their respective characteristics, organization and preparation.



Under the theme of Harmonies Civilization and Common Prosperity-Tradition and Modernity, Revolution and Transition, the urban sub-panel (Panel VI) put forward the topic of Urban Transition and Future of Mankind.


“The history of human civilization is to some degree a history of urban civilization.” said Shen Tiyan, urban sub-panel administrator, vice president of Capital Development Institute and associate professor of PKU school of Government. Just as Shen Tiyan pointed out that urbanized region is the unique clustering form, which assembles the most of human wealth, nurtures plenty of civilized human achievements, carries human cultures and traditions and gives impetus to the evolution of human civilization. While greatly accelerated the urbanization, the process of industrialization and modernization also brought about urban crisis, overturned the urban tradition and dissevered the urban cultures. Thus, in the context of globalization and urbanization, the continuity, transition and development of urban civilization is a significant part concerning the whether or not human future is sustainable, and where the meaning of this round forum lies in.


“The forum will start from dialogue between east and west urban civilization, progress along the pattern of sustainable urban development and take the ecological, intelligent and humanized urban transformation as core elements.” Shen Tiyan expressed the unique view of the forum.


The topic of the sub-panel will be divided into 5 sub-topics, namely development pattern and challenges of east and west cities, low-carbon and ecological urban planning and construction, smart cities and the development of emerging urban industries, humanized urban transformation and inclusive development, building a low-carbon, smart and humanized Beijing.


Shen Tiyan told our reporters, “The 5 sub-topics, which are closely interconnected, aim at developing a brand new urban concept on the basis of traditional development pattern and realizing the comprehensive transition to low-carbon, smart and humanized city under the new concept.” Among the 5 sub-topics, the issue on low carbon and ecological development receives the most attention.


Carbon emission has been intertwined with the process of urbanization and low-carbonurban development has great significance for curbing global warming. Today, as global urbanization gains momentum, nearly 3.3 billion people will live in cities,which also means a high carbon emission. Thus low-carbon urban development and planning will become the key technique for carbon emission reduction. In this regard, to address the challenge of global warming, we must change the traditional urban development pattern to one that pursues an ideal low-carbon pattern to resolve the risks of disaster brought about by the 200 years of high-carbon urban development since the Industrial Revolution.


“Unlike other sub-panels, the conclusions of urban sub-panel closely relate to current issues of Beijing and can be applied soon”. Shen Tiyan was full of expectation for the Beijing Forum. Shen hope this direct academic exchange among world scholars will contribute to the goal of building Beijing a world-class city, find out a sustainable path of development that is suitable for Beijing and to build a smart and humanized capital city for China.


The urban sub-panel invites 29 experts and scholars in the urban and regional development research field from US, UK, Italy, Japan, India, Thailand, Philippines, and China, etc. “Many of them are chief experts in this field”, Shen Tiyan stressed that, “scholars from different backgrounds ensure the pluralized perspectives of this forum. Achieving common consensus after debates and discussions will be more meaningful and can reflect the inclusiveness of urban development.”


In conclusion, Shen Tiyan expressed his anticipation for this sub-panel. He hope, through discussions on urban transition targets and routes, scholars will reach consensus on urban development that turns conflicts into harmony and integrates tradition into modernity; explores the historical experiences and defines the future development; creates homes of harmony and building cities of happiness”.  



Written by: WANG Jingran
Edited by: LI Xiaomeng

Source: PKU News (Chinese)