Experts discuss post-COVID-19 urban planning

Yang Jian
Leading planners and scientists were recently invited to a series of online interviews about urban-rural planning reforms after the pandemic.
Yang Jian
Experts discuss post-COVID-19 urban planning
Ti Gong

Zhang Wenhong, leader of Shanghai’s anti-COVID-19 clinical expert team, shares his opinions on post-COVID-19 urban-rural planning.

Excellent urban management capabilities and active cooperation from the public are key to China’s effective containment of the coronavirus outbreak, said Zhang Wenhong, leader of Shanghai’s anti-COVID-19 clinical expert team.

“Without strong support from local citizens, we could not have controlled the epidemic in such a short period,” Zhang said. “The key to preventing COVID-19 is to make it a common task for everyone in society.” 

Over 10 local urban planners and experts including Zhang have been invited to a series of online interviews about urban-rural planning reforms after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was jointly arranged by the China Association of City Planning, Research Center for Urban Planning & Development of Fudan University, the journal Urban and Rural Planning and Fudan Architectural Design (Group) Co. Experts invited to share their opinions come from the health-care, geology, economic, cultural and artificial intelligence sectors.

The experts reached a consensus that future urban planning, especially after the coronavirus pandemic, should focus on offering a healthier, happier, fairer and more harmonious living environment for inhabitants, according to the organizer.

Zhang hopes Shanghai will develop into a “top public health city,” featuring rapid response to disease outbreaks, strong capabilities in treatment and quarantine as well as medicine and vaccine research.

The whole city should also have the ability to maintain its normal operations and economic standard, Zhang said. “It will become a great challenge to urban managers in future,” he added.

Tang Yalin, a member of the Chinese Association of Political Science, said the communities in big cities are the important strategic space for the COVID-19 prevention. During the outbreak in China, home and neighborhood quarantine as well as joint community prevention measures played effective roles. “Planners should spare enough space to cope with such crises for new communities,” he said.

Zhu Jieming, a member of the British Academy, said “planners should work out new standards on complete housing design and per capita living space.”

The experts also stressed the importance of the new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

AI helped to track and research the spread of COVID-19, and was used in diagnosis, virus tracking and analysis, said Lin Wei, deputy director of the Institute of Science and Technology for Brain-inspired Intelligence of Fudan University.

Zhang Jun, dean of the School of Economics Fudan University, said the COVID-19 has driven the rapid development of the online economy in China. “People have transferred most economic and social activities online due to the coronavirus outbreak,” Zhang said.

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