UCI Hosts Quarterly Urban Leaders Roundtable4/05/2012
Urban China Initiative hosts its first urban leaders’ roundtable luncheon, involving 19 urban leaders. [photo/UCI]
Urban China Initiative (UCI) hosted its first urban leaders’ roundtable luncheon of 2012 on March 27, providing a prime opportunity for leading urban stakeholders to exchange views and to understand the latest trends in China’s urbanism.
This is the third Urban Leaders Roundtable UCI hosted since its launch in late 2010 and the maturing think tank plans to make it a quarterly flagship event in the future. The roundtable is an invitation-only platform for China’s urban leaders.
The March roundtable involved 19 central and government officials, corporate and nonprofit leaders and leading thinkers active in the urban sector.
Yang Weimin, Vice Minister of the Office of Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, a key urban policy maker, made a keynote speech on the challenges facing China’s urbanization.
Yang Weimin, Vice Minister of the Office of Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, makes a keynote speech on the challenges facing China’s urbanization. [photo/UCI]
“Even though China’s urbanization ratio, the percentage of dwellers in urban areas versus the overall population, has surpassed the significant 50 percent mark, urbanization in terms of population [living an urban lifestyle] lags far behind that in terms of land,” Yang said.
This is because many local governments rely on land revenue as a main source of resources to enable them to invest in infrastructure and other construction projects, Yang explained.
“This is not sustainable as land is a limited resource and it is especially true in a country like China with a large population,” he said.
Yang also mentioned that in terms of spatial development, China should avoid theU.S. model while learning from Japanese and Korean experiences, which feature highly compact city clusters that allow a more efficient use of space and resources.
“In this way, more land could be saved for ecological, agricultural and other strategic developments,” added Yang, a key decision maker on China’s national metropolitan and regional development policies.
Jonathan Woetzel, Co-Chair of UCI and Director of McKinsey & Company, shared with the guests UCI’s latest progress and exciting findings in the new edition of the China Urban Sustainability Index report.
Jonathan Woetzel, Co-Chair of UCI and Director of McKinsey & Company, shares with the guests UCI’s latest progress and findings in the new edition of the China Urban Sustainability Index report. [photo/UCI]
Studies of 112 major Chinese cities show that the higher a city’s per capita income, the better the city’s overall sustainability performance. However, when per capita income rises to a certain level, the rate of environmental gain weakens, according to the report.
“This implies that China has tough choices to make as it enters the next phase of development – e.g., around the development and design of new urban downtowns, the financing of environmental services, and the integration of the next wave of urban migrants,” Dr. Woetzel said.
The participants also had a one hour discussion based on Minister Yang and Dr. Woetzel’s presentations. They agreed to meet again in the second quarter of 2012.
The participants have free discussions based on Minister Yang and Dr. Woetzel’s presentations. [photo/UCI]
Jointly launched by McKinsey & Company, Columbia University and Tsinghua in November 2010, UCI has been playing a vibrant role in promoting the healthy development of Chinese cities and dialogue within and between Chinese as well as international urban sectors.