January 14 2014

Xiamen Encourages Public Participation in the Planning Process

On December 26th 2013, Xiamen Planning Department director Zhao Yanjing held a press conference to discuss the public participation initiatives that the planning department would carry out in the city’s future planning projects.

Xiamen's Gulangyu Island

Reporter: The recent Yuandang Lake Pedestrian Path project and the park bench donation program have attracted significant attention from the citizens. Will the planning department use this model next year and open more channels for civic participation?

Zhao: One of the highlights in this year’s city planning is the wide-ranging public participation. We sent the “Beautiful Xiamen Planning Initiative” brochures to tens of thousands of families, as well as using the media to reach the communities. It is the first time that we communicated with the citizens face-to-face and started the public furniture donation. At first we worried whether the citizens would accept these programs. To our surprise, the benches were adopted in a very short time.

Next year we will create more opportunities for civic participation, including public infrastructure and community development projects, such as the bike renting system, and the slow traffic system. We will also utilize some new interaction pathways, such as the Internet, workshops, and the media.

Xiamen Old Town

Reporter: Redeveloping the Xiamen Old Town is one of the major strategies of the “Beautiful Xiamen Planning Initiative.” How will the planning department deal with the issues associated with declining public services and loss of historic buildings?

Zhao: Redeveloping a large area in the Old Town can destroy characteristics of Xiamen. The really good cities are like bottles of wine, which took time to make. We are very cautious in terms of demolishing the old neighborhoods, since they are unreplicable and nonrenewable. For example, we did not close the family hotels in an old neighborhood even though they started without formal licenses. They have become part of the neighborhood’s texture, and we change the regulation to fit the practical needs.

Do you know about any other civic participation programs in Chinese cities?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

The original article, published in Chinese, can be found here.

Jue Wang

Jue Wang is a Master of Urban Planning student at the University of Southern California (USC) with a concentration in sustainable land use planning. Born in a small town along the Yellow River and having grown up in the Pearl River Delta in southeastern China, she experienced the rapid transformation of rural and urban China in the past two decades. Inspired by the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, she decided to translate her passions towards the betterment of the natural and built environment to a career in urban planning. Being an Angeleno for five years, she has claimed Los Angeles as her second home. Through her work as a translator and content coordinator, Jue hopes to help more people learn about China's planning and environmental design issues.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 9:09 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, History/Preservation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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