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Joint City Forum Connects Peking University and the University of Toronto

OCT . 16 2017
Peking University, October 10, 2017: From September 30, 2017 to October 4, He Canfei, Dean of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences of Peking University, led a delegation to the University of Toronto for a jointly hosted academic conference on urban studies.

The conference focused on seven topics: land development and infrastructure, economic transition of urban society, urban models, urban economy and innovation, urban transport, urban environment, and urban governance. Professor Liu Zhi introduced China’s financial policy of urban construction and Professor Enid Slack analyzed the investment strategy of urban infrastructure adopted by Canadian cities. After the academic lectures and discussions, the Canadian and Chinese scholars exchanged ideas and laid foundations for further cooperative research. The conference concluded with Professor Matti Siemiatycki presenting challenges to the construction of urban infrastructure from a global viewpoint.

Group photo of all the scholars present

The conference highlighted urban challenges facing both China and Canada. During the discussion of economic transition of urban society, Associate Professor Cao Guangzhong cited Beijing as an example to illustrate how urban areas in developing countries adjust their social economic structures under the influence of regional, national and global powers. Researcher Liu Tao introduced new tendencies for migration of people in China from both macro and micro perspectives and its subsequent impact on urbanization. Professor David Hulchanski and Professor Alan Walks also presented their research and offered solutions to the urban problems in Canadian cities such as Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.  

In later sessions Professor Xue Ling and other Chinese scholars discussed diverse issues regarding urban studies in China and shared their recent academic achievements with Canadian scholars.

After the conference, the Chinese delegation learned about various aspects of the University of Toronto including its history of urban studies, the university’s research on interdisciplinary studies, and innovative working spaces on campus. Zhang Jun, an alumnus of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences of Peking University, who now teaches at University of Toronto, led the delegation on a tour of both the layout of the campus as well as the City of Toronto.

This conference built off of the relationship between the two universities established in May 2017, when PKU President Lin Jianhua, accompanied by a delegation, visited the University of Toronto. During that meeting, the two universities agreed on future academic communication and cooperation. The delegation from PKU consisted of ten teachers representing the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, the School of Government, the School of Environment and Urban Studies (SUPD) of Shaenzhen Graduate School and the PKU-Lincoln Institute.

Written by:
Pan Xinchen
Edited by: Erin Dunne & Xie Changli
PKU News (Chinese)