Meeting challenges of rapid urban development

Li Qian
The 2023 Urban Risk Management Forum opened in Shanghai on Friday.
Li Qian

The 2023 Urban Risk Management Forum opened in Shanghai on Friday.

More than 370 experts, scholars and enterprise representatives gathered to share views on the high-end safe development of cities.

As a developing country, China has witnessed rapid development and urbanization.

In 1998, China's urban population accounted for 30.4 percent of the nation's total, but the rate now exceeds 65 percent, generating chronic and sudden safety risks.

Xu Zuyuan, China's former transport minister, said China is facing complex challenges in urban risk management which are rarely seen around the world.

Public transportation is one such issue. By the end of 2022, 54 Chinese cities had opened urban rail transit services, with a network stretching 9,652 kilometers in 292 lines. People, roads, vehicles and other environments are intertwined to create a highly sophisticated urban transportation system, he added.

Su Jie, deputy director of the National Academy of Safety Science and Engineering, pinpointed the challenges of events in high density populations.

Sun Jianping, dean of Institute for Urban Risk Management of Tongji University, compared today's city to a middle-aged person whose wealth is increasing but health is declining.

A sudden accident could create a disaster, he said, adding that the cities should continuously improve infrastructure and facilities to become resilient.

The application of innovative science and technologies were widely believed to be a good approach to improve a city's resilience. But the following risks such as privacy and data protection should also be taken into consideration when building "smart city," experts said.

In its sixth year, the forum is hosted by Tongji University.

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