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[Beijing Forum 2015] Special Panel I—New urbanization: Global Experience and China’s Way (Session 1)

NOV . 16 2015
Peking University, Nov.11, 2015: The first session of the panel “New urbanization: Global Experience and China’s Way” was held at Qiulin Hall of School of International Studies on Nov.6, as one of the panels of 2015 Beijing Forum. Experts from home and abroadjoined in the discussion on the urgent issues that china is facing, especially the issue of urbanization—how to tackle the problems it brought about and how to achieve a coordinated urban-rural development in the next 10-20 years of special historical period.
 
Prof. Yu Kongjian, dean of College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture from Peking University, gave a warm welcome to guests and audience in his opening speech, and pointed out three issues related to China’s urbanization: environment pollution, unequal distribution of social resource and cultural disorientation.
 
As the first presenter, associate Prof. Thomas Campanella at Cornell University gave a brief review to American urbanization history, which involved an ascent, a decline and a rebirth in the past 200 years. Based on the American cases, Prof. Thomas gave two suggestions to China’s current urbanization: to control the quantity of cars and the scale of cities through improving the public transport system; to relive the pressure of traffic jam and parking problems by creating more available spaces in the inner city, instead of expanding it without limit.
 
The third speaker, Li Jinkui, is a member of Council&Senior Research Fellow of China Development Institute. Li is an expert on the “city village” issue, which was the center topic of his speech. He focused on the promoting function city villages did to Shenzhen’s development. He said, 241city villages had absorbed more than 10 million people in this port city. These tenants far outnumbered the original residents, and became the important engine of Shenzhen’s economy. In this economictransition era, city villages were also finding their own way: turning to the new public rental housing to accept more grass-roots workers, supporting young peoplepioneering career, and improving hygienic service to build a more modern community. Mr. Li suggested that the case of city village could be a good example for cities under urbanization.
 
The next speaker, Roberto Bannura, is the director of Steven Holl Architects, a design firm that has accomplished many successful public constructions in China. He is a man with typical “engineer style.” He used many cases of Steven Holl Architects to exemplify their design principle: the fusion of environment, city and urbanization in coordination. The team emphasized the “open public area” in terms of the new city buildings, using bridges or other channels to connect the residences and commercial buildings, in order to open the living surroundings. Also, they attached great importance to energy saving, using new technology to build more environment-friendly cities.
 
The distinguished Professor Xiang Weining at College of Resources and Environmental Science of East China Normal University gave the speech on “Space equity”. He mentioned the “Hu Huanyong Line” which showed the huge imbalance of China’s development between southeastern side and northwestern side, pointing out two key elements of this phenomenon—the imbalance of education resources and medical service. From a long historical perspective, qualityresources in China always tended to the capitals of every province, or metropolis like Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, to which more talented people and resources were drawn in turn. He suggested that to tackle this vicious circle, government should treat every city and province with more equitable resource of quantity and quality in new urbanization era.
 
Following the lectures, speakers and audience had a very pleasant communication focusing on the urbanization topic.
 
Reported by: Wang Zehua
Edited by: Wu Zhangxinan