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Vigorous City and Countryside, Beautiful Human Settlements: Annual National Planning Conference 2019 Successfully Held in Chongqing
From Oct. 19 to 21, 2019, the Annual National Planning Conference 2019 (shortened as ANPC hereinafter), hosted by the Urban Planning Society of China (UPSC) and Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, co-organized by the Chongqing Municipal Bureau of Planning and Natural Resources was successfully held at the Chongqing International Expo Center. This year, the ANPC’s theme was Vigorous City and Countryside, Beautiful Human Settlements, which reflected people’s increasing yearnings for a better life, and laid out a vision for the diverse charm and coordinated development of urban and rural areas. As the most influential and top-level academic event in the field of urban planning, the ANPC has been successfully held for 17 sessions so far, and it is the second time that Chongqing was chosen as the host city after having hosted the conference in 2010. A total of 4,061 academic papers by 8,462 authors were received, of which 227 excellent papers were presented at the ANPC.

On Oct. 19, the Plenary Session was hosted by Shi Nan, Vice President and Secretary General of the UPSC. Sun Anjun, the President of the UPSC made a welcome speech, followed by Huang Yan, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Zhao Long, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Secretary General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and Tang Liangzhi, Mayor of Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, each of whom delivered a short speech and congratulated the opening of ANPC. Huang Yan analyzed the concepts, methods, and paths for improving the quality of living environment from people-centered, problem-oriented, and community-based perspectives; Zhao Long pointed out that spatial planning refers not only to resource allocation, but also to being the pillar of national governance, and stressed that we must go beyond technical thinking to explore new ideas, new methods, and new mechanisms for planning in the new era. Sharif sent a video message to express her congratulation and mentioned that UN-Habitat will help to promote the sustainable development of Chinese cities through knowledge sharing, policy advice, technical support, and collaborative actions.

In the following academic report session, ten guests including academicians and prestigious experts from the central ministries and commissions and national research institutes, were invited to share state-of-the-art studies on issues including, but not limited to, the current development of urban and rural human settlements, new challenges in spatial planning, modernization of spatial governance and governance capability, healthy urbanization development, urban vitality creation and spatial distribution of the population, spatial planning theory and practice, and urban design and spatial quality improvement.

Pan Yiqin, Deputy Mayor and Member of the CPC Leading Group of Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, introduced the vision of Chongqing aimed at high-quality development and its practical experience of creating a better life. Yang Weimin, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, Deputy Director of the Economic Committee, emphasized the importance of urbanization in urban development, and indicated that urbanization should be regarded as an important driving force for urban sustainable growth, with urban agglomeration as the main carrier of urbanization promotion and spatial governance as the key approach of urban governance. Zhuang Shaoqin, Chief Planner of the Ministry of Natural Resources, pointed out the problem that the methodology of the planning expertise does not always match the actual situation, and thus he proposed that the spatial problem is about timing, behavior, and relationships, and that the future planning should be smart enough to be perceivable, keep learning, promote good governance, and be self-adaptive. Shi Weiliang, Vice President of the UPSC, Dean of the Urban Planning and Design Institute of Beijing, Professor-Level Senior Engineer, elaborated on the evolution of Beijing from “developing from the old city to the suburbs” to a pattern of having “one core and two wings.” Wu Zhiqiang, Vice President of the UPSC, Vice President of Tongji University, and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, explained the basic logic of spatial planning, namely life logic, propagation logic, sustainable logic, thinking logic, waist logic, and closed-loop ascending logic. Fan Jie, Vice President of the UPSC, and Vice President and Researcher of the Institute of Science and Development in Chinese Academy of Sciences, introduced the theory and method of “dual evaluation” of spatial planning, and shared the latest theoretical and technical achievements in the preparation of the evaluation guidelines. Cui Kai, Executive Director of the UPSC, Chief Architect of the China Architecture Design & Research Group, proposed that architects could adjust the previous urban plan, in adapting to the improvement of the urban environment and the darning of urban space, as well as seeking for intensive development in the future. Meng Jianmin, Executive Member of UPSC, General Architect of the Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co. Ltd., Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, elaborated on the background and historic origins of the chief designer system, introduced the four models of chief designer by sharing practical experience of his team in Shenzhen Bay, and proposed the prospects for the future of the chief designer. Lu Ming, Distinguished Professor of Shanghai Jiaotong University and Executive Director of the China Development Research Institute, called to respect the objective laws of urban development and reduce the intervention on the population distribution by administrative means especially when the concentration of service industry in city centers is increasing. Wang Jianguo, Vice President of UPSC, Director of the Urban Design Research Center of Southeast University, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, focused on the historical picture and contemporary construction of urban vitality, and proposed to construct the urban vitality with “inclusiveness and sharing, explicit and implicit identification, and a liveable environment” by three principles of “timeliness,” being “people-oriented,” and with “moderation.”

At the Plenary Session, Secretary General Shi Nan also announced the winners of the “Western Light” College Students’ Summer Holiday Planning & Design Competition, the Best Scientific and Technical Workers of UPSC, and the 4th Science and Technology Award for Chinese Youth. Mao Qizhi and Pan Fang from the Editorial Board of China City Planning Review, were awarded the title of Best Scientific and Technological Workers respectively.

The second and third day of the ANPC were packed with various parallel sessions including one themed dialogue, 33 special session, 28 academic dialogues, 2 Chongqing-themed discussions, 5 special dialogues, and thematic exhibitions, which highlighted multi-topics that are closely related to national economy and people’s livelihood such as rural revitalization, urban renewal, heritage protection, urban transportation, community planning, master planning, detailed planning, smart city, healthy city, child-friendly city. The ANPC focused on “Chongqing 2035 Development Strategy and Spatial Planning,” “Great Western Development Strategy and Construction of Inland Open Highland in Chongqing Under the New Era” and other topics related to the host city, and arranged a series of field trips for the experts and scholars, in order to help them comprehend the local landscape, history, humanity, and planning and construction, as well as providing a reference for other cities nationwide. The success of ANPC has inspired new ideas, new concepts, and practical solutions for exploring the new path of high-quality development of urban and rural areas in the new era.

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