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Seminar promotes healthier cities, sustainable development

By ZHUANG QIANGE | | Updated: 2017-11-13 17:03

The International Seminar on Sustainable Urban Development and Healthy Cities was held in Beijing Friday, urging city regulators and planners to attach added importance to the construction of a healthier city, with its development driven by more sustainable forces.

Co-organized by the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD), a public institution directly under the National Development and Reform Commission, and the World Health Organization, the seminar was attended by urban planning professionals from all over the world, as well as some local governors from China.

The two signed a memorandum of understanding previously May 14 at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Both parties agreed to promote the concept of conducting urban construction in healthier and more sustainable ways in the world through the China International Cities Development Alliance, a platform they coestablished.

"Construction of healthy cities leads directly to better lives for urban citizens in the short term, and in the long run, it serves to better the overall development of the country," said Xu Lin, director of the CCUD. "Regulators should consider the elements and characteristics of their cities, and build up a truly healthy city for their people, instead of a city with real estate agents peddling their houses."

China is facing a fast urbanization pace. Currently 57.4 percent of the total population lives in urban areas, and that proportion is expected to soar to 75 percent by 2030, according to data from the WHO, which calls for more attention to healthy construction for cities.

"City regulators should bear the healthy city concept in mind at the very beginning of urban construction," Xu added. "An integrated healthy and sustainable plan at the first place will pave the way for urban development in the future."

According to Xu, the government is testing a multiple planning integration scheme, where officials from the counties and cities within a province can better collaborate and communicate with each other to put forward better integrated plans and policies in Ningxia province and Hainan province.

Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone planned directly by the central government, is also going to be a healthy zone with a multiple planning integration scheme applied to the area.

"Xiongan New Area is a new economic zone with strategic significance." Xu said. "Building a big city that is healthy and sustainable is also listed in the construction plan. In addition, Xiongan is also considered to be an applicable zone for the multiple planning integration scheme."

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