Sustainable Cities™

Pan Haixiao: Learning from Shanghai

Professor of Land Use and Transport Studies at Shanghai’s Tongji University, Pan Haixio discusses the role of development and environmental issues in China and beyond. He explains that as China works to transition from an industry-based economy to one that is more design- and service-oriented, the nation will need to address constraints that the developed world did not have to face.

What are the qualities that should characterize a sustainable city?
"If you look at the definition of sustainable development, first that we would have a developed country, that we would have some kind of development… where people can survive in the city. So economic vitality is very important. At the same time, with less environmental impact. And also, that [the city] can be shared by different social groups, that different social groups can be participants in decision making."

What are the challenges that top the to-do list of cities around the world?
"It much depends on the situations of different cities. For some cities, maybe transport. Maybe for some cities the economic problem. [For] some [it] may be the social divide…. In the case of Shanghai, we must think about how to have the function of the manufacturing or the service industry. So we have some projects to improve the seaport, airport, and the regional transport-all of this is trying to support the economic activity."

What are the most promising initiatives that would make living in cities more sustainable?
"When the cities in the developed countries established their development, the resources and the environmental problem were not such serious problems. If we can think about the globe as a whole, we still can find that a majority of people still cannot enjoy a good quality of life. If they follow the case or the example of the developed countries, that would be a big challenge for the globe. So it's a big challenge for the developing countries-the environmental global issue, and also international political issues."

About Pan Haixiao

Pan-Haixiao_193x193_0 Pan Haixiao is a Professor of Land Use and Transport Studies at Tongji University in China. His research encompasses transport planning, urban master plans, and land use, with particular focus on Shanghai.

Professor Haixiao has been commissioned by several municipal governments in China to produce transportation plans for their cities, including Yueqing, Linan, Shaoxing, and Shanghai's Baoshan New District and Qingpu District. Most recently, he has worked on creating a transportation plan for Shanghai during the World Expo 2010.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014