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Planning Coordination, Social Innovation, and System Reform: Annual Conference of China City Planning 2013 Successfully Held in Qingdao
More than 6,000 urban planners, urban administrative staff, professors, and college students from all over China, as well as representatives from international organizations such as UN-HABITAT and USEF, gathered in Qingdao from Nov. 16 to 18 and attended the Annual Conference of China City Planning 2013. Relating to the conference theme of “Urban Age, Coordinated Planning,” they discussed and explored various significant issues of urbanization, coordination between urban planning and other planning, village development, urban planning informatization, etc.

Today, as 50% of the Chinese population lives in urban areas, the urban age has arrived and the socio-economic development pattern is undergoing great changes. Social governance institutions are in urgent need of innovation as a result of the synchronous development of industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization, as a result of the coordinated development between cities, between city and countryside, between city and region, and between regions, as well as because of the constantly changing social administration modes.

At the plenary meeting on the first day, various speakers were invited to deliver the keynote speeches, including Baoxing QIU, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development; Qun LI, Municipal Party Secretary of Qingdao; Jianxiong GE, Professor of Fudan Unversity; Jie FAN, Director of the Sustainable Development Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Jian LIN, Professor of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences of Peking University; Tianyong ZHOU, Deputy Director of the International Strategy Research Institute of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC; James J. WANG, Dean of the Department of Geography of the University of Hong Kong; Tingwei ZHANG, Professor of the Department of Planning of the University of Illinois at Chicago; Fulong WU, Bartlett Professor of Planning at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, et al. These experts pointed out that urbanization in China had entered a critical stage and that the role of planning as a tool for guidance and coordination must be enhanced.

As both the academic society and the professional organization of urban planning, the Urban Planning Society of China (UPSC) has cross-boundary, inter-departmental, and inter-disciplinary advantages. Fully exerting these advantages, the USPC organized 35 parallel meetings for this year’s conference, including 17 featured meetings, 10 free forums, 3 special forums, 2 high-end forums, and 3 work meetings. These parallel meetings covered various aspects of urban planning, urban development, macro strategy, socio-economy, cultural inheritance, etc., some of which included hot and difficult issues of urban planning, and some drew broad social attention. They fully demonstrated the role of UPSC as a bridge between government and society.

In order to guarantee the quality of the conference, UPSC had called for papers nationwide. Altogether it received 2,422 papers, among which, after the strict anonymous review of experts, only 163 papers were presented at the parallel meetings. They not only represented the latest achievements in academic research in the field of urban planning, but also reflected the great attention paid to the theme of “Urban Age, Coordinated Planning.”

At the conference, the UPSC granted awards and medals to the winners of the 7th UPSC Youth Award, those of the 1st UPSC Youth Technology Award, and those of the “Light of the West” Summer-Vacation Planning and Design Competition for College Students. The UPSC Youth Award, with the National Youth Urban Planning Paper Competition as its predecessor, is aimed to provide an exchange platform for the youth engaged in urban planning research. So far it has been held for 13 times, and this year a total of 15 young authors were awarded with the First, Second, Third, and Excellent Work Prize respectively.

Guided by the public benefit activity of “Planning Heading Toward the West,” from June to October of 2013, UPSC had organized the “Light of the West” Summer-Vacation Planning and Design Competition for College Students, which was aimed at providing more study and exchange opportunities for planning students of colleges and universities in China’s western region. There were 21 colleges and universities from the West participating in the competition, including 76 teams and 400 teachers and students. The competition effectively built a platform for the interaction between the east and the west, as well as for supporting the poverty-stricken areas by technology.

During the conference, the Urban Image Committee of the UPSC held a public interest-oriented auction of city-themed photos. The money raised through the auction was all donated to UPSC’s activity of “Planning Heading Toward the West,” thus providing financial support for the development of urban planning in China’s western region. The organizer hoped that through a series of public interest-oriented activities, it could arouse the wide public concern for underdeveloped areas and expand the spirit of science and technology in the field of urban planning there.

Meanwhile, during the conference, on Nov. 16, the second work meeting of the second editorial board of the China City Planning Review (CCPR) was also held in the Qingdao International Expo Center. Qizhi MAO, Executive Associate Chief Editor of the CCPR, hosted the meeting. Deci ZOU, Chief Editor; Nan SHI, Associate Chief Editor; and Bin LÜ, Gang WU, Guoyan ZHOU, Jian LIU, Jiayan LIU, Li HOU, Ming ZHANG, Qingyu GONG, Shiwen SUN, Yan TANG, Zhendong LUO, members of the editorial board, all attended the meeting. Jian LIU, Director of the Editorial Department of the CCPR, presented a summary report on the work of the editorial board and the editorial department in 2013. The attending members of the editorial board recognized the achievement of the editorial department, and shared their opinions and suggestions on the future development of the journal, such as how to enrich the contents of the journal, how to improve its level of internationalization, how to expand its influence, etc. Being a member of the editorial board, Jiang Liang who could not attend the meeting personally sent her suggestions via email and contributed a lot for the meeting as well. In the end, Qizhi MAO summarized the meeting and indicated that with the joint efforts of the editorial board and the editorial department, the CCPR was expected to make new progress and reach a new level in the near future.

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