Wang Weiguang, Executive Vice President of CASS, at the forum closing ceremony
07/10/10 – For sustainable urban development, cultivating harmonious relations between rural and urban zones as well as between humans and the environment is vital, said Wang Weiguang, Executive Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at the closing of the Expo Theme Forum in Hangzhou, China, dedicated to the theme of "Harmonious Cities and Livable Life."
Wang continued: today, as cities grow at a remarkable pace and fuel growth across the globe, we must also be vigilant against the negative impacts of urbanization, including a growing gap in living standards of rural and urban zones, increasing living costs that will particularly burden the younger generation, unfair treatment of migrant workers, degradation of interpersonal relations, increased crime rate, and serious pollution in cities. In this era of urbanization, countries and regions demonstrate their governance capacities through how they deal with these issues, he said.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong concluded that a harmonious city and sustainable urban development require good "hardware and software": a city must have as preconditions for growth an appropriate infrastructure and the right built environment as its "hardware" on one hand, and a rationalized economic structure, active citizen participation, and a sense of ethics to govern the behavior of its people as its "software." A good urban culture, an innovative spirit, good citizenship, and an active participation by multiple stakeholders all make for a better city, he said. He added that growth at the expense of the environment is unsustainable and that economic development alone is not a guarantee of a livable city.
Shanghai Vice Mayor Yang Xiong
To close the forum, the sixth and the final leg of a series of Expo Theme Forums held in six neighboring cities of Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta, Yang praised the success of these forums, which "not only reviewed tried-and-tested wisdom [with regards to urban planning] but also generated innovative ideas." The discussions and the conclusions generated by EXPO 2010, moreover, will provide a "reference for future urban growth," he said.
Three sub-themes were explored at today's session of the forum: urban governance and community participation, the built environment and livable life, and social policies and harmonious city.
The Summit Forum at the closing of the Expo, to deliver the Shanghai Declaration – which aspires to be a "roadmap" for the future of cities— will gather heads of states, minister-level and other government officials, mayors, Commissioners General at the Expo, as well as representatives of academia, business, and media. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to attend. The Summit Forum will be jointly organized by EXPO 2010, BIE, and UN-DESA.
(Photos courtesy of EXPO 2010 official website – www.expo2010.cn)