Several European cities and Zhuhai City in southern China’s Guangdong province are willing to step up further cooperation to embrace resilience strategies after a workshop by the Europe-China Eco Cities Link project (EC Link) in Zhuhai from the 12th to the 13th of June.
Resilience strategies in a global sense are when a city understands the challenges it faces; reviews its ability to face them and unites its people, projects, and priorities, so urban centres can act collectively to meet their resilience challenges.
The EC-Link Project invited to Zhuhai senior advisors, experts and urban planners from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bologna and Valencia, who brought proposals for comprehensive urban water strategies and effective European solutions to transforming a city under risk of great natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or floods into a resilient and sustainable city. Attending the meeting were around 100 experts, officials and professionals, including the director of Zhuhai Municipal Bureau of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (HURD), chief engineer of Zhuhai MBHURD and leaders from Zhuhai Institute of Urban Planning and Design.
Zhuhai, one of EC-Link’s pilot cities, seeks to identify the best practices of storm management, water management and urban resilience governance. With a coastline stretching 690 km and under the influence of tropical hurricanes during summer, the city is exposed to high risks of extreme weather disasters such as typhoon, heavy rain storm and floods. These threats were epitomized by Typhoon Hato, which inflicted direct economic losses exceeding 20 billion yuan on the city.
The city is poised to revise its general urban planning before 2020 which requires an upgrade of urban resilience in a systematic way. Experts from the European cities reviewed the Zhuhai Urban Planning and Design Technical Guidelines and gave advice on investment decisions, social inclusion and other technical elements. The meeting reflects EC-LINK's continuous efforts to build an EU-CHINA plafform on low carbon and ecological city development. After the meeting, both EC-LINK Project Zhuhai city planners will continue their dialogua in order to evolve pilot proposals and a disaster risk management framework of Zhuhai to assess, plan and enhance the capability of responding to natural hazards.
The pilot project in Zhuhai for building a resilient city will act as a template to provide local experiences and good models of urban resilience for larger-scale or nation-wide practice. China has seen an increasing number of cities with inadequate flood-control measures during its fast urban sprawl. On average, around 200 cities are faced with the problem of waterlogging caused by rain or storms every year.
The EC-Link project is a key component of the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanization, which was signed by the Chinese government and European Commission in May 2012. The initiative was launched in November 2013 with the aim of assisting Chinese cities in implementing energy and resource-efficient measures by sharing experiences in sustainable urbanization with cities in Europe.