Zhengzhen Tan, Executive Director of the CFC Lab, announces the opening of the forum.

MIT China New City Forum happened on Nov.12th, 2018 in Beijing as a satellite event of MIT China Summit. The forum was hosted by the MIT China Future City Lab and co-organized by the China Development Planning Institute of Tsinghua University. Scholars, policymakers from China and the U.S., and industry leaders of China’s new city development gathered to discuss urbanization in China and around the globe. The dialogue offered new perspectives on China’s urbanization. The event attracted more than 150 people from academia, government, industry, and media.

Mr. Kui Feng from NDRC gave a keynote speech about the development of China’s new cities, where he made an introduction of successful new city development models. Professor Siqi Zheng, faculty director of MIT China Future City Lab, introduced her recent research about the theoretical framework of new city development. In her framework, new cities are planned and constructed by a central coordinator, which can be the local government, private companies, or the public-private-partnership. The central coordinator shall be competitive and market-oriented. They also need to make strategic investment decisions about the time, location and industry that enable local economic growth. Except for strategic market decisions, the central coordinator shall also be able to synergize resources and maximize the positive externality. During the morning’s executive workshop, consortium members, CFC labs researchers, and Zhengdong new district committee had an intensive discussion and reflection. 

In the afternoon session, the forum invited Doctor Dingyou Zhou, deputy chair of Zhengdong committee to deliver the keynote speech. He shared the history of Zhengdong New District development from various aspects. The speech was followed by the launch of the Zhengzhou City Living Lab program. As a critical element of MIT-CFC, this living lab program is a collaboration between MIT and the municipal government of Zhengzhou. This lab will provide urban scenarios for the application of cutting-edge technologies, policies and social innovations. The Zhengzhou City Living Lab will enable the theorization of Chinese urbanization with a global perspective. By enabling the implementation of advanced technologies and concepts from MIT, the living lab will increase the quality of China’s urbanization.

After the launching, Professor Siqi Zheng gave a speech about China’s industrial parks, economic growth, and resource allocation. Professor Ming Lu from Fudan University Economic Department presented his research findings of the challenges in new city development by drawing connections between density, distance, and debt. His research findings provided lessons for future urbanization projects. Professor Amy Glasmeier from MIT introduced her analysis of the development history of Kendall Square, one of the most premier locations of the life science industry in the US. Professor Bish Sanyal from MIT talked about his reflections on the history, theoretical background, practices and limitations of bottom-up development models. Professor John Fernandez from MIT discussed various environmental challenges associated with urbanization processes. He also suggested sustainable growth paths for environmental friendly economic developments.

The forum ended with a panel discussion moderated by Professor Shangtong Li, who is the senior researcher of NDRC. Panel discussants include Professor Yongheng Yang, vice-president of the School of Public Policy in Tsinghua University; Professor Binkai Chen, president of the school of economics in Central University of Finance and Economics; Professor Jianfeng Wu, a professor from Fudan University School of Economics. The panel discussed from different perspectives about the paths of new city development. After their discussion, the panelists received questions from the audience.