China's New Urbanization Forum 2016
Innovations in the Transformation and Development of China's Urbanization
'China's New Urbanization Forum 2016' was held on the 20th of Nov at Jinling Guanyuan International Hotel Suzhou, China.
This event was jointly organized by the NUS Institute of Real Estate Studies (IRES) Global Logistic Properties (GLP) Research Centre; Centre for Chinese Urbanization Studies, Soochow University; Centre for New Urbanization, Zhejiang University and the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, Shanghai Jiaotong University. The forum was also supported by the Jiangsu Federation of Philosophy and Social Sciences, NUS Research Institute, Dongwu Think Tank of Soochow University and the Shanghai Coordination Centre of World Cities Day.
This Forum is the 2nd in an annual series which followed on from the inaugural forum held last year at Hangzhou. This year's event saw an overwhelming participation of more than 300 local and foreign industry leaders and scholars from more than 50 organizations.
Professor Tian Xiaoming (Vice President, Soochow University and Chairman of the board of Dongwu Think Tank) delivered the welcome speech and provided a brief introduction on the developmental history and achievements of Soochow University. His speech touched on why new urbanization efforts should place emphasis on developments which are people-centric. More attention should also be devoted to the overall coordination and sustainability of developments. New urbanization is more than merely scale expansion of the city scape and population growth, but also transformation in the social realm, including lifestyle changes. It signifies a significant shift away from the traditional urban development mindset.
Professor Xu Zhishun (Vice President of Jiangsu Federation of Philosophy and Social Sciences) summarized the developmental trends of Jiangsu's new urbanization using "five highlights" in his opening speech, namely, greater 'people-orientation', greater 'optimization in layout', greater 'innovation driven', greater 'ecological focus' and more 'cultural heritage'. He would like to see the greater use of both theoretical findings and professional expertise in deciphering solutions for a more optimized approach to China's development in general and to Jiangsu's urbanization in particular.
Mr. Chan Soo Sen (Chairman of SCP Consultants Pte Ltd and a former Singapore Minister of State) delivered insightful and razor-sharp analyses, decomposing issues related to sustainable urban planning and developments in China, both past and present. He delivered eye-opening perspectives about the '牛扒' and '和牛' urban planning models, unlocking a world of fresh insights into the Chinese market. As a city planner with an intimate knowledge of Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City and the Guangzhou Knowledge City, Mr. Chan was able to draw valuable parallel lessons that community cohesion, economic development, as well as environmental conservation are essential elements in the sustainable development of a city.
Mr. Pang Yee Ean, the Director-General of Investment Operations at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), pointed out that AIIB is committed to infrastructure construction. Based on the 'Paris Climate Change Agreement', AIIB will look to establish related infrastructure construction projects, and will also be actively promoting the inter-operability of these developments. He also touched on the topic of private capital investment in infrastructure.
Prof Deng Yongheng (Provost's Chair Professor and Director of IRES at the National University of Singapore) emphasized that there is currently a 'high price - low rental' phenomenon in the Chinese housing market. Such a circumstance can pave the way for the development of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and interest in asset securitization in China. On the back of market demand, China's relevant regulatory authorities is coming to terms with the growth of a REITs market.
The second part of the Forum consisted of 2 panel discussions, centering on the following topics: 'Urban Transformation and Innovations in Social Governance' and 'Urban Transformation and City-Industry Integration'.
From left: Dr. Chow Yuen Leng, Mr. Zhao Dasheng, Mr. Chan Soo Sen, Prof Wei Longbao, Prof Zhang Xueliang and A/Prof Sing Tien Foo
From left: Prof Chen Kang, Mr. Zhan Yu, Prof Zhang Weiwen, Prof Duan Jinjun, Mr. Chen Qining and A/Prof Tu Yong
Prof Deng Yongheng delivered the closing speech.