Seeking Harmony in Chinese Planning

Effective planning creates harmonious environments, according to this piece from <em>Xinhua</em>. Most Chinese planners, the author argues, have not embraced this idea.
November 9, 2008, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"The world today is confronted, as we know, with rapid urbanization of poverty and the hazardous impact of climate change. Planning therefore has become an important tool for healthy urban development and environmental management to halt the formation of slums and mitigate hazards."

"In other words, planning is a means to realize the social harmony we have been pursuing."

"Effective planning should steer toward harmonious settlements, putting places in harmony with nature and between people, as the Zhengjiang Communique highlights. It should alleviate poverty and reduce inequality."

"That calls for higher requirements from planners. A qualified planner will have the journalist's capacity to be good at listening to all kinds of views, an economist's capacity to be skilled in calculating the input-output costs, the social worker's capacity to work with the communities, and a politician's capacity to balance various groups' conflicting interests."

"Not many Chinese planners have come to value their profession this way, and the result is dissatisfying urban sprawls featuring inadequate services and inconvenient settings, which are particularly unfavorable to the low-income families."

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Published on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 in Xinhua
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