While on a trip to New York and Chicago, Chinese Pinggu Party Secretary Zhang Jifu developed a strong interest in environmentally-friendly city design. Thereafter, he attended a two-week course in the U.S arranged by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s Paulson Institute.
As a result of the course, and his understanding of the Paulson Institute’s 65-page report, coauthored by LBNL’s Dr. Nan Zhou, Zhang saw “the importance of developing compact cities.” China’s urban development is based on Soviet planning — expansive roads and cars are placed above people and livability.
With its growing urban population, China faces the challenges of urban sprawl, as well as the economic issue of land sales. Local governments still depend on land sales for about a fifth of their revenue. This incentive to continue selling land instead of increasing density does not foster sustainable urban development.
Zheng has a vision — both the Paulson Institute’s course and 65-page report influenced him in promoting more interaction for future changes to improve green cities and efficiency gains. Read the full article, Hank Paulson Wants China to Save the Planet, as reported by Bloomberg News on Aug. 6, 2015.