Beyond the EU-China Urbanization Partnership Event

Beijing, 2012, June 18th. The tremendous urbanization process involving China over the last decades could be seen as a threat by different perspectives: a threat for the environment, a threat for living conditions of inhabitants, a threat for institutions which have to learn how to deal with it properly. However, what if we tried to consider this process by a completely opposite point of view, turning it into a concrete opportunity of improvement and change? This is the approach taken by the Chinese and European institutions when they underwrote the Joint Declaration on the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership last May, underlining the positive effects of the increasing urbanisation in China and urban development in EU Member States. How this can be effectively implemented is the key issue that was discussed today in the conference organized by Progetto CMR in Beijing Italian Embassy, Beyond the EU-China Urbanization Partnership: How Foreign and Local Industries Can Synergically Implement It.

The welcome speeches, given by Davide Giglio, First Counselor of the Italian Embassy in Beijing, Li Tie, Director General of China Center for Urban Development, and Laurent Javaudin, First Secretary of the European Union Delegation, focused on the importance of the Partnership and on its strategic role in improving and strengthening institutional relationships between EU and China. During the round table, sustainability emerged as a key issue in the implementation of the Partnership. The need for joint efforts on both sides was pointed out by the moderator of the round table, Massimo Bagnasco, Chairman of the EUCCC Construction Working Group. He stressed the opportunities offered by the Partnership to both Chinese and European companies to cooperate in the creation of new sustainable cities in China, thus giving a significant contribution to the realization of the “Harmonious society” China government has been striving for. The round table saw the participation of leaders of main relevant stakeholders: urban planners, architects, investors, developers and suppliers.

In particular, Massimo Roj, Global CEO of Progetto CMR, illustrated the challenges posed by the urbanization process to architecture. According to him, the only fruitful way to face them is a new approach to design, which should take a more human dimension and should always bear in mind the needs of the final user.The issue of “human scale cities” was also raised by Rao Rong, Director of the School of Architecture in the Tsinghua University, who showed what kind of technical support local design institutes can actively offer to institutional bodies to help them in realizing more sustainable environments. A new model of liveable city was described also by Hao Jiebin, CEO of Vantone Citylogic, who envisions a future city which combines environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Florian Schmied, Managing Director of Euro Sino Invest, illustrated his last real estate project which turned out to be the first project directly linked to the Partnership, fully financed by private companies, under the aegis of the European Commission.

Moving away from real estate and architecture, Roberto Ferraro, General Manager of Giacomini, took the audience to a different perspective, talking about sustainability applied to another field, that is the production of high-quality and energy-saving industrial equipment. The strength of the company relies also in the manufacturing process chosen, which combines the latest technologies to the respect for the environment from the very first step of production.