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Regional cities unite to work on urban planning

Update: November, 19/2013 - 09:23
Ha Noi and other major Asian cities are boosting co-operation towards sustainable development. The 12th plenary meeting oftheir network opened yesterday in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HA NOI  (VNS) — Deputy PM Hoang Trung Hai yesterday called for further co-operation among Asian cities in urban planning and effective use of energy for sustainable development.

He was addressing the 12th plenary meeting of Asian Network of Major Cities in the 21st century (ANMC 21) that opened yesterday in Ha Noi.

Hai said that the 21st century had created new development opportunities for mankind, with great scientific and technological achievements and increased economic links.

However, to achieve strong economic growth, major cities had to face environmental and social challenges including urban planning and management, he said, noting that one of the key solutions to the challenges was solidarity and co-operation.

He also urged measures to promote the engagement of the private sector in urban development and the use of new renewable energy sources.

Chairman of the Ha Noi People's Committee Nguyen The Thao said that fast urbanisation in Asia created enormous pressure on cities.

The combination of urban planning and development with low carbon economy through effective use of energy and enhanced response to natural disasters should be focused upon for solutions to green city development.

Director of Ha Noi's Bureau for Urban Planning and Architecture Nguyen Van Hai said that Ha Noi had expanded in 2008 from 921 to 3,000 square kilometres, and the population had increased from 4 million to 6.4 million people.

Planning activities in the city face difficulties including limited human resources and funding, the gap between planning and construction investment management, the conflict between demand to develop new facilities during the process of urbanisation and the conservation of historical cultural buildings.

He said that to address such problems, the city targetted innovative methods of planning, with priority given to develop green belt areas and eco-towns, with respect for natural values and landscapes as well as tailored management regulations for specific areas such as the Citadel, Old Quarter and colonial streets.

Mikio Ono, senior director for the Cityscape Project from the Tokyo Metroplitant Government's Bureau of Urban Development, said that harmonising urban development with nature, environment, history and culture were key viewpoints for the city.

It delivered policies or support to maximise creative ingenuity of private sector entities, turning the sector's advanced know-how into urban development.

For example, policies to encourage the private sector to restore historic buildings and manage them as art galleries/museums, and support the implementation of projects to reduce carbonic emissions through the use of natural lighting or energy efficient air conditioning in office buildings.

Representatives from other network members including Bangkok, Jakatar and Singapore also shared their experiences and solutions at two policy dialogues yesterday, discussing urban planning and energy efficiency.

As an international network of Asian capitals and major cities, the ANMC21 - established in 2001, now has 13 member cities, including Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, New Delhi and Ha Noi.

It undertakes joint projects on common tasks regarding crisis management, environmental countermeasures and industrial development, and applies the outcomes for the prosperity and development of the Asian region.

The annual meeting aims to promote co-operation among its members.

The last meeting held in Singapore had a policy dialogue on the theme of "Balancing Cities' Economic Growth with Social and Environmental Needs", and adopted the Singapore Declaration, reaffirming member cities' agreement to share knowledge, experiences and technology for the development of sustainable cities. — VNS

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