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2023 National Urban Planning Society Working Conference | Stay confident, return to the original aspiration, and innovate while adhering to integrity

2023-04-11 | UPSC


The 2023 National Urban Planning Society Working Conference was held on April 2nd in Beijing. The leaders of UPSC put forward requirements for the work in 2023 and the future period. The Executive Vice President and Secretary General Shi Nan made a summary of the conference.

On-site of the conference

The 2023 National Urban Planning Society Working Conference was held on April 2nd in Beijing. The President, Vice President, and Supervisory Board members of UPSC, as well as the presidents and secretary generals of UPSC's academic divisions and local associations, had extensive discussions on the UPSC's work, discipline and industry development, and other issues. The leaders of UPSC actively responded to the questions raised by the participants and put forward requirements for the UPSC's work in 2023 and the future period. The Executive Vice President and Secretary General Shi Nan made a summary of the conference.

Yang Baojun

President of UPSC, Chief Economist of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development

President Yang Baojun stated that for many years, UPSC has persisted in carrying out various academic activities around the construction of the discipline, promoting the technological progress of the planning industry. In 2022, UPSC was supported by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology's "China First-Class Societies (Tier 1)" Project and awarded the title of "National Advanced Social Organization" by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. All these achievements are inseparable from the joint efforts of everyone. In 2022, the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council once again confirmed the unchanged status of the first-level discipline of urban and rural planning. Even during the pandemic, various online conferences have been held, not only by UPSC but also by various universities and design institutes, and academic exchanges have become popular. He stated that although we are having some difficulties and confusions currently, we should face them together, and a discipline or an industry shouldn't lose the passion of young people. If we lose the pursuit of planning ideals from young people, our cause will be affected.

Zhao Wanmin

Supervisor of UPSC

Supervisor Zhao Wanmin emphasized that, with China's urbanization having entered the middle and later stages, our priority is to distill the core scientific problems. Secondly, UPSC has achieved great success within the China Association for Science and Technology system, but it is more difficult to maintain this glory and brilliance, so we must be calm about our achievements. Thirdly, we need to consolidate the driving force and execution of UPSC in national, local, and industry levels.

Yin Zhi

Deputy Supervisor of UPSC

Deputy Supervisor Yin Zhi pointed out that, we must first be confident about the planning work in the period of the national system's re-adjustment. In this process, we should aim for mutual benefit and self-improvement, and be open about the future. Secondly, we should focus on the modernization of governance, shifting from the worship of power or authority to building a communication platform for the whole society to participate in for future development. Meanwhile, we need to establish a cooperative system of division of labor, in order to cope with the increasing specialization of labor in modernization. Promote equal dialogue in disciplines and industries and gather the wisdom of all people. Thirdly, we need to reconstruct the relationship among philosophy, laws and techniques, and adhere to the correct path while innovating through more extensive cooperation. Fourthly, for planners, we need to make good use of our advantages on zoning, classification, interdisciplinary and cross-industry adjustment, platform building, as well as understanding and communication, to unite governors, governments at all levels, and broader disciplines all together.

Fan Jie

Supervisor of UPSC

Supervisor Fan Jie pointed out that in the face of challenges and pressures, we need to emphasize learnings on theories, academic research, disciplinary knowledge, and personal growth. The nature of science is about its recognition and grasp of laws. Urban planning is the highest level of science. Generally, the ability of science is to predict, repeat, and model after grasping the rules. Urban planning also requires regulation and optimization. The objects it faces are complex systems. Therefore, the discipline of urban planning requires more on basic science and applied science.

Wu Jiang

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Wu Jiang pointed out that while deepening reforms and unleashing vitality, we should also adhere to the right path and innovation. We have our own core values, logic, and technology. Planning itself is a science of governance, and we should enrich our knowledge on the discipline. At the same time, we should promote cross-disciplinary integration, publicity, and expand social influence.

Wang Kai

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Wang Kai shared two insights. Firstly, in the construction of disciplines and the development of the industry, we need to have a historical, a current and a future perspective, and be confident in the development of the industry and the construction of disciplines. Secondly, there are three things to consider for doing the next step of work: The first is that we should clarify the basic issues of disciplinary development, define values and work boundaries, and have a critical spirit. The second is that serving the society should be regarded as the basic responsibility of UPSC's work. The third is that we should consolidate our own work style, be practical and realistic, find real problems, understand real needs, and cultivate real skills.

Duan Jin

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Duan Jin also emphasized the necessity to focus on academic, theoretical, and disciplinary aspects. Firstly, it is necessary to enrich the basic theoretical research of the discipline and enhance the study of the fundamental laws of urban development. Secondly, innovative application of technical methods needs to be promoted. Thirdly, the contemporary demands for urban-rural development should be explored. Commonalities and fundamental content should be found among various forms, which will reveal many areas that can be researched. For the development of the discipline, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of planning and design skills and encourage the advancement of planning and design.

Wang Jianguo

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Wang Jianguo pointed out that the development of the planning discipline should serve the common interests, which is the most basic requirement. It is necessary to return to academia and re-examine the boundaries of planning. Theoretical exploration should be carried out to strengthen the foundation of the discipline. Multiple practices should be conducted to discover patterns. Innovative methods should be developed based on local conditions and current needs. Finally, it is important to reveal the academic principles and continue the civilization.

He Xinghua

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President He Xinghua proposed three suggestions for improving the professional level of urban planning. The first is to grasp the general trend and keep up with the times. The second is to adhere to integrity during innovation and focus on academics to promote urban planning cause and build the urban era. Thirdly, conduct in-depth investigations and research to understand the actual situation and ensure implementation. He advocated getting rid of departmentalism and disciplinary biases, strengthening professional foundations, opposing formalism and empiricism, promoting the importance of research and investigation, and working together to achieve the goals set by the association.

Zhao Yanjing

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Zhao Yanjing pointed out that in the face of the country's economic transformation, the key to the development of our industry lies in whether we can successfully transform, and whether we can shift from relying on land growth to helping the government create cash flow and increase tax revenue. If we can achieve this, we will continue to develop.

Sun Yimin

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Sun Yimin expressed the importance of having not only crisis awareness but also confidence through a comparison of disciplines and emphasized the importance of academic standing. Firstly, disciplines such as architecture, planning, and landscape architecture are facing a relatively severe situation. These disciplines need to promote communications and exchanges with other related disciplines. Secondly, the issues that UPSC needs to care about are not the same as those of industry associations. We need to focus on academic, innovative ideas and contemporary trends. UPSC proposes to rely on academic standing, gathering and training true scholars. Thirdly, China traditionally referred to planning as "construction" before the disciplines of planning and other related fields emerged, where "construction" and "building" reflected the process from planning to construction. However, planning and construction are now separated. The integration of multiple professions is not easy, and there is still a long way to go from discussing academic issues to truly solving problems.

Zhang Jie

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Zhang Jie stated that, firstly, we need to consider the mismatch between the first and second halves. The mismatch in the first half is that we had the highly urbanized Western urbanization theories with the low level of urbanization in China at the time of its establishment. The mismatch in the second half is that the West has already entered the post-industrial era, while we cannot simply adopt many basic experiences, concepts, and theories about deindustrialization from the West in the context of national strategy and survival. Our own problems reflect unique characteristics, and parallel discussions of certain concepts or theories may lead to misunderstandings of China's reality. Kant once said that all rationality without perceptual experience is hollow. Now we are facing situations that we have not encountered before, with no precedent to follow. With practice as the basics and extending our focus on upstream or downstream being problem-oriented or goal-oriented, this may be the fundamental driving force for professional development.

Zhang Wenzhong

Vice President of UPSC

Vice President Zhang Wenzhong shared three thoughts. Firstly, we need to establish confidence in our discipline. We have our own complete, comprehensive, and systematic theories and methodologies. Secondly, we need a group of outstanding experts and scholars, including senior, middle-aged, and young professionals who can both do urban planning and write scientific research articles. At the same time, we should promote the cooperation and integration between professional committees and subcommittees, and coordinate innovation and development in response to the country's major strategic needs and goals. Only by uniting can we reach to a certain level and depth. Thirdly, innovation should be the driving force or vitality that keeps the association, discipline, and scholars constantly moving forward. We should shift our focus from being craftsmen in planning projects to combining both mastery and craftsmanship. He stated that we need to face cutting-edge issues, the future, and the practice, improve our own abilities, embrace modern science and technology, and focus on the major scientific issues in the country's grand strategy.

Shi Nan

Executive Vice President and Secretary-General

Finally, Executive Vice President Shi Nan pointed out that the conference of this year is different from previous ones in that everyone is focusing on the core issues of UPSC's own development, attaching great importance to the research on academic, disciplinary, scholars, and theoretical aspects, returning to the original aspiration, and exploring what UPSC as an academic community should do.

Secondly, although we are facing many difficulties and pressures, we all believe that it is necessary to find new starting points from the reform, search for the promotion of the development of discipline, industry and work improvement, bring the development of UPSC to a higher level.

Thirdly, urban and rural planning, as a discipline and profession, is full of ideals and aspirations, or rather, we are a group of experts with high academic and cultural literacy. In the new era and faced with new demands, it is important to promote scientific and procedural rationality, and to enhance research on fundamental theoretical issues and core scientific issues in the development of the discipline, in addition to ideals and aspirations. This is crucial for planning the future work of the institute and local branches.

Fourthly, we need to take a higher stance, adopt a broader perspective, and play our professional role well in seeking certainty amidst uncertainty. An important mission or historical responsibility of UPSC and local planning associations is to provide professional faith to our colleagues engaged in this profession, believing that planning can change the world, improve the living environment, contribute to the construction of ecological civilization, and help reconstruct a new national spatial pattern. To achieve this goal, we need to conduct investigations and research in the face of real challenges. As an academic group, apart from legal planning, we need to explore new planning concepts, types, methods, and theories from the perspectives of demand and real problems. This is a very important responsibility for UPSC.

The requirements that General Secretary has made for history, humanities and social sciences are equally applicable to urban and rural planning. We need to construct urban and rural planning with Chinese characteristics, Chinese style, and Chinese grandeur. Urban and rural planning played an important role in the development of urbanization in China during the first forty years of reform and opening, and was recognized by the academic and professional communities worldwide. Now we have entered a new stage of development, which is to comprehensively build a modern and strong country while also achieving high-quality development and high-quality living. Whether we can take our historical responsibilities really requires everyone to play an active role in the academic platform and academic community.

The guests are listed in the order of their speeches.


Translated by He Huiling