Xi'an, China Speaker Launches Cities for Tomorrow Conference

Xi'an Tongji Regional Planning Institute
2018-12-10 20:00 270

NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference, took place in New Orleans December 6-7, convened leaders from government, NGOs, think tanks, and the private sector for a high-level discussion about urban development. Mr. Li Dong, Dean of the Xi'an Tongji Regional Planning Institute, kicked off the conference Thursday with a speech about Xi'an's transformation from an ancient capital to a modern city.

Mr. Li Dong, an urban planning expert from Xi’an China addresses the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference in New Orleans on December 7, 2018. [Photo Credit: Mike Cohen for The New York Times]
Mr. Li Dong, an urban planning expert from Xi’an China addresses the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference in New Orleans on December 7, 2018. [Photo Credit: Mike Cohen for The New York Times]

Though Xi'an continues to value its deep and cherished history, the city is quickly transforming into a thriving metropolis of more than twelve million people. Mr. Li emphasized that the heart of Xi'an's urban planning approach is to preserve the city's historical legacy. China's ancient capital is employing advanced 3D imaging to map out its expanding metro system and deploying new industrial engineering practices to ensure the integrity of the ancient City Wall is not compromised by construction. The wall is eight miles around and one of the most fully intact city walls in the world.

The Xi'an development story generated interest among the high-level attendees. Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Managing Editor of the New York Times, said, "we are honored to invite Xi'an to attend the conference and share their experience. I have been to Xi'an and was struck by how linked the development issues in Xi'an are to other cities around the world."

The Cities for Tomorrow Conference is put on by the New York Times along with the NOLA Media Group to assess key challenges facing cities today and define the winning formulas that lead to flourishing urban centers. The conference featured remarks from many US city mayors including the host city New Orleans, Seattle, San Juan, and Detroit. Xi'an was the only Chinese city to attend the conference.

One of the challenges facing many cities today is how to attract and retain skilled workers. This challenge is particularly relevant for cities like Xi'an as they compete for talent with top tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In order to create the kind of jobs and innovation ecosystem that young skilled people desire, Xi'an is leveraging its status as the number three Chinese city for science education. The city, which generates more than 60,000 computer science graduates annually, is providing billions of RMB in start-up financing, supporting potential entrepreneurs with competitions, and providing discounted creative workspaces. The city's new talent recruitment initiative, launched in 2017, has already attracted almost a million new residents and resulted in 250,000 new businesses.

"Xi'an has learned from the development of other cities in China and is taking the lead among inland cities with creative and environmentally sustainable urban development plans," noted Mr. Li. The city is particularly dedicated to green transportation, focusing on electric vehicles, shared biking, and a development model that enables people to live close to their place of work. Sustainable urban living was a major theme of the conference.

"It is so important to increase engagement with the world, deepen cooperation and make new friends," said Mr. Li. "Through these discussions we can improve our cities and create better lives for urban residents all over the world."

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Source: Xi'an Tongji Regional Planning Institute