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Planners talk harmony

URBAN planning experts will discuss how to improve living standards at a World Expo 2010 forum on Harmonious Cities and Livable Life, the organizer of the event said yesterday.

The forum will be held in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province, on October 6 and 7.

More than 60 government officials and urban planners from 10 countries will share policies and strategies being used to improve livelihoods, said Wang Juan, director of the Expo Bureau's Forum Department.

British town planner and geographer Peter Hall will give a keynote speech.

So will John Friedmann, who is professor emeritus at UCLA's School of Public Affairs. He founded UCLA's Urban Planning Program in the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning.

Friedmann is currently an honorary professor at the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His current research focuses on urbanization in China.

Three sub-forums will also take place to discuss the harmony between urban and rural areas, urban infrastructure and the role of women in urban development.

A panel discussion will be held on housing policies.

Ye Min, secretary general of the Hangzhou municipal government, said they will learn from the forum and work to improve living standards.

Ye added that Hangzhou wants to share some of its practices, including water treatment for West Lake and a low-carbon traffic system, with the scholars.

Hangzhou has set up many buses-only roads to encourage public transportation. Citizens can also borrow bicycles at many locations around the city free of charge.

Wang said Hangzhou is a suitable place to hold the forum because it is one of the 10 most livable cities in China.

Previous Expo-related forums have been held in Ningbo and Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, as well as Wuxi, Nanjing and Suzhou in Jiangsu Province.

A forum on urban innovation and sustainable development will be held at the end of the Expo.

The leaders of various nations and the secretary general of the United Nations will be invited to attend and sign a declaration on urban development.


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