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Germany and China: pooling ideas for Wuhan, the ambitious city on the Yangtze River

25.08.2009

Between 20 September and 31 October, it will be the turn of the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province to host the “Germany and China: Moving Ahead Together” (“Deutschland und China – Gemeinsam in Bewegung”) series of events. Sino-German conferences and workshops, including a “Forum on Sustainable Development”, a seminar on “Urban Renewal and the Quality of Life”, a “children’s university” and a symposium entitled “City and Theatre”, plus performances, exhibitions and a “German-Chinese Esplanade” (23 - 31 October) will generate ideas on how to create sustainable cities.

Wuhan, capital city of the central Chinese province of Hubei, has ambitious plans. This metropolis of nine million people on the Yangtze River is already one of the most important cities in Central and Western China. With more than 30 universities and more than 700 research establishments, Wuhan is one of the most important academic centres in the entire country. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the economy of both the city and the province has grown tremendously, thanks, not least of all, to foreign investment. Wuhan is currently striving to combine economic growth with sustainability even more successfully. The provincial capital aims to become a dynamic, environmentally friendly and liveable model city. For example, the aim is for new buildings to meet modern energy and environmental standards, and the old town along the river bank is to be renovated and given listed status. The city’s inland port and two new railway stations are intended to enhance Wuhan’s status as a transport hub, the city’s public transport network is to be extended, and road transport regulated more efficiently. Consideration is also being given to how previously unused areas such as the “Chinese Corner” on the mouth of the Yangtze and Han Rivers can be turned into attractive public spaces.

As part of this series of events, Germany and China are cooperating on the development of sustainable solutions to this and similar urban challenges. Their cooperation is based in part on the know-how, experience and ideas contributed by Germany. An interdisciplinary approach has been adopted: in addition to the Federal Ministries and German federal states and cities, representatives from industry and town planning, culture, education and the scientific community are involved. The nine-day “German-Chinese Esplanade” will provide a platform for an exchange of ideas.

“Germany and China: Moving Ahead Together” is the biggest series of events which Germany has ever organized on foreign soil. After Nanjing, Chongqing, Canton and Shenyang, Wuhan is the fifth city to host the events. The project was officially launched by the Federal Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Beijing in 2007. The Federal Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, opened the “Chongqing Dialogue on Urbanization” when the events were hosted by that city during their second stop. The climax will be Expo 2010, which is being held in Shanghai. The patrons of this series of events are the Federal President, Horst Köhler, and the Chinese President, Hu Jintao. Funding is being provided by the Federal Foreign Office. Cooperation partners are the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA), the “Germany – Land of Ideas” initiative and the Goethe-Institut, which is also leading the project. Allianz, BASF, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post DHL and Siemens are “official partners”, while numerous other companies and institutions are also involved. On the Chinese side, provincial and city governments are partners in “Germany and China: Moving Ahead Together”.


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