Professor Wang Lan
Prepared by Binyam Gebre Mariam, Tongji University
Professor Wang Lan talked about urbanization and transport, and started by explaining the current trend of urbanization in Chinese cities and around the world. Currently 54% of the world population resides in urban areas. By the year 2030 more than 70% of the Chinese population will be urban dwellers. She also argued on her presentation that old Chinese cities used to bring ecosystem and greening to urban areas, by creating wetlands and green environments, but after the period of industrialization cities are destroying the natural ecosystem. In her presentation she mentioned the current trends in urbanization that are not sustainable and the need for a paradigm shift on planning and implementing urbanization plans. To illustrate her cases, two model areas in Shanghai were briefly discussed. The areas mentioned were Xintiandin and Wujiaochang, whereby the former is a renovated old part of the city in sustainable way and the latter a new corridor of a city were businesses, offices and residences are contained in the same area.
She gave a detailed case study of the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed railway, which started operation in 2011. The railway covers 1318 kilometers, crossing 22 cities with 23 train stations, with a maximum speed of 350 km/h. The station distance from the cities’ center ranges from 3.4 to 24 kilometers. According to Professor Wang the train stations that are closer to the city center are better developed then the distant ones. From her study, she pointed out the main causes of problems regarding stations built far from the city centers. The major reasons are poor planning by central and local governments, and capacity of the local governments and municipalities to negotiate with the central planning office. Overall the lecture provided insights about urban planning and sustainable development from an environmental protection perspective.