Declaring a better city, a better life

08:50, November 01, 2010      

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Some participants at the Shanghai World Expo jointly summarized the "substantive achievements" of the 184-day event in a Shanghai Declaration, on Sunday, the last day of the Expo, pointing to its innovations as solutions in tackling the challenges of urban development.

The declaration was also "an expression of the shared aspirations of people around the world for a 'Better City, Better Life'". This came in a statement released at the Summit Forum, held on the sidelines of the Expo.

The forum was hosted by the Shanghai organizing committee, the United Nations, and the International Exhibitions Bureau and attracted nearly 2,000 people, including Chinese and foreign leaders, mayors of major cities in the world, business elites, and academics.

The participants came to a consensus that people's understanding and pursuit of a better life are the foundation and the engine of urban development, as was seen in the pavilion exhibitions and showcases of the best urban practices.

It is necessary to re-examine the relationship between people, cities and the planet, said the statement. The participants pledged to build cities with harmony among diverse people, between development and the environment, and between cultural legacies and innovations.

The declaration also proposed that Oct 31, the closing day of the World Expo 2010, be nominated as World Better Cities Day, in a bid to recall, renew and advance ideas and practices of the Shanghai Expo for future development.

At the forum's opening ceremony, Premier Wen Jiabao called the Expo a splendid event and a glorious chapter in Expo history.

Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, in a speech before members of the forum, called for a joint effort in tackling the growing urbanization challenge.

Wen spoke of the Expo bringing "together the Chinese people who wish to learn more about the world, and foreign friends who wish to know more about China" and said they have forged a strong bond of friendship.

Ban called China "a frontrunner in addressing the urban slum challenge and in embracing green technologies, renewable energy sources and green business models."

Urbanization with green technology, were the keywords of the day at the forum on Sunday.

"We must marshal the benefits of technology to harmonize the needs of people and nature. That's how we build a city of harmony; that's what lies at the heart of sustainable urban development," said Sha Zukang, the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs.

Over the past six months, more than a thousand new energy vehicles were used in the 5.28 square-kilometer Expo Garden in a large-scale demonstration of 'zero emissions' transportation.

"Science and technology is not the only power to push economic development, but also the engine of urbanization and sustainable development," said China's Cao Jianlin, vice-minister of science and technology.

In addition, there were seven separate panel discussions with different themes on how to build digital, cultural, creative, sustainable, and livable cities.

Source: China Daily


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