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International experts meet in Shanghai to discuss “Urban Transformation”

Urban_Trans_Formation Visual
Urban_Trans_Formation Visual

What will the city of Shanghai look like 20 years from now? How will the growing city balance economic, environmental and social needs of its people? More than 250 experts and scholars from over 40 countries are gathering in Shanghai to debate these and other aspects of tomorrow’s approaches to urban development.

An international symposium on the topic of urban transformation will be held April 19 to 21 to consider sustainability of the built environment. The Forum is an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction and organised in conjunction with Tongji University. Shanghai is the first city outside of Switzerland to host a Holcim Forum.

The Holcim Forum brings together international experts from the fields of architecture, civil engineering, urban planning, and the sciences as well as representatives from business, civil society and government, including representatives of China and Switzerland. The forum will foster the interdisciplinary exchange of experience and knowledge through keynote speeches, workshops and panel discussions, as well as full-day case study tours in the Shanghai region. The experts will discuss and share their concepts for sustainable urban development – seeking to meet present-day needs for housing and infrastructure without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in times to come.

The global urban population is growing at the pace of 1.25 million people every week, bringing heavy burdens and unprecedented challenges to cities. Marc Angélil, Professor at the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland and Head of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Forum 2007, explained: “To encourage greater interchange, experts will form working groups to discuss different types of urban development, such as normative urbanism (between convention and differentiation), informal urbanism (between sanctioned and shadow orders), green urbanism (between ecology and economy), touristic urbanism (between local and global) and temporary urbanism (between permanent and transitory).”

The Swiss Ambassador to China, Dante Martinelli, commented that the quality of life in Switzerland is one of the world’s best, ”thanks to the consistent priority the government gives to environmental protection and the ongoing engagement of Swiss experts to achieving sustainable urban development.”

“China is an important partner of Switzerland,” Martinelli continued. “The two countries have cooperated on urban development and environmental protection in the past and we look forward to more extensive exchanges in the future. As Shanghai prepares to host the 2010 World EXPO under the theme ‘Better City, Better Life,’ we hope for more opportunities to discuss ideas and exchange best practices on these critically important topics.”

Zhiqiang Wu, Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, Chief Planner of Shanghai EXPO 2010 said, “Switzerland has nurtured a lot of outstanding talents in the field of architecture, from Le Corbusier, the architect of Modernism to the ‘bird’s nest’ designers Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron. Tongji University has enjoyed a long term partnership with the Swiss architectural community which we celebrate during the centennial year of Tongji University. The topic of urban transformation has far reaching implications and I believe the thought and contention of great masters will provide a deeper space for reflection at EXPO 2010”.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is organizing the forum as part of its activities to promote innovative approaches to sustainable construction. In addition to the forum, the Foundation holds the USD 2 million Holcim Awards global awards competition for sustainable construction projects. Entries in the next competition open on June 1, 2007. The last Holcim Awards attracted over 3000 projects from 120 countries of which 46 received prizes.

Technical details on all Holcim Awards 2005/06 prize winners have been compiled into a book in Chinese, edited by Zhiqiang Wu, Zhenyu Li and Xiangning Li of Tongji University. The book provides a snapshot of contemporary approaches to sustainable construction, and will appeal to and inspire architects and building professionals, as well as general audiences.

[ISBN 978-7-112-09153-9], available for download. The Holcim Foundation is sponsored by Holcim Ltd, a leading building materials supplier based in Switzerland with majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries and employing some 90,000 people.

Last Updated: April 18, 2007
Article Details
Location
Shanghai, China
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