China and the EU Held Joint Discussion on Xiongan

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The EU-China Conference on Sustainable Urbanization: Digital Xiongan, Empowering thr Future was held at China Academy of Urban Planning and Design on the 12th of December.

All speeches and penal discussions had one very specific ambition, namely solution-seeking for the transformation of the special municipality of Xiongan (which is located 105kms southwest of Beijing and south of Tianjin) into an international paradigm for urban digitalization and green-tech advancement.

In her opening remarks, Vice Minister Huang Yan, from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, put this ambition in the context of China’s shift in the mode of development, from speed-orientation to quality-orientation, which entailed the central task of building Xiongan into a “city of wisdom” in chiefly 3 respects: wisdom in the use of historical heritage for urban identity, wisdom in the use of big data for urban management, wisdom in the use of energy for power cleanness and efficiency. Subsequently, various speakers contributed valuable insights expanding upon the Vice Minister’s discursive framework.

The Ambassador Ettore Francesco Sequi, offered Italy’s experiences in the establishment and promotion of historical and cultural identity, highlighting its successful inheritance of Roman and Renaissance attractions. Then the former President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, confirmed repeatedly, the national resolve to transfer geothermal technologies in the assistance of China’s urbanization for humanity’s common good of carbon emission reduction and the retardation of the thawing of the North Pole. Finally, after an overview of Xiongan’s preliminary design introduced by Dr. Yang Baojun, the president of China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, Professor Annemie Wyckmans from NTNU (a partner institution to CAUPD in Xiongan’s urbanization project), delivered a series of specific technological solutions in building circular economy and improving air quality, with the ultimate aim to make Xiongan a sell-sufficient zero emitter which could additionally serve as the engine for its satellite towns. According to the Professor, these technologies had gone beyond the stage of theoretic construction and into the stage of experimentation, which was being carried out in Urban Living Labs in Jingdezhen, Tianjin, Wuhan and soon enough, also in Xiongan. The proud fruitions of these labs had also been published on the EU-China Innovation Platform on Sustainable Urbanization, which constituted the one of the first initiatives to increase the scientific transparency and mutual learning and advancement in the urban technology between Europe and China.