International Cooperation



“2011 International Symposium on Sciences of Human Settlements” Held in Beijing

  • Published: Apr 22, 2011
  • Source: CAE
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“2011 International Symposium on Sciences of Human Settlements”, co-sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and Tsinghua University, was held in Tsinghua University on February 28, 2011. Special guests invited to attend the symposium were CAE President Zhou Ji, CAS Vice President Li Jinghai, Vice Minister Qiu Baoxing of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Tsinghua University President Gu Binglin as well as Vice President Xie Weihe.


This international symposium was attended by a total of more than 100 people, including six CAE Members, namely Wu Liangyong, Zhou Ganzhi, Meng Zhaozhen, Guan Zhaoye, Wang Ruizhu and Ma Guoxin, a number of professors coming from universities in the USA, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, as well as other representatives with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, Peking University, North China University of Technology, Chong Qing University, China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, along with Planning and Construction Departments personnel with Tianjin, Tangshan, Kunming and Shenzhen Municipal People’s Governments. CAE President Zhou Ji, CAS Vice President Li Jinghai, together with Tsinghua University President Gu Binglin addressed the opening ceremony of the symposium, illustrating great significance of the sciences of human settlements, as well as the direction for future development. CAE President Zhou Ji emphasized in his speech that, the Chinese government stated clearly that in the new historical period, we should take the scientific outlook on development as the theme, the acceleration of the transformation of the economic development pattern as the main thread, and put more emphasis on people-oriented, comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, as well as the improvement of people’s livelihood, and make overall plans and take all factors into consideration when making decisions. The symposium saw the attendance of renowned experts and specialists in related areas home and abroad, who discussed in a profound manner the innovation and cooperation of various disciplines like economics, sociology, environmental science, urban studies and architecture in studies of human settlements sciences, who also exchanged the achievements and experiences gained from their human settlements practice. Participants of the symposium offered their suggestions for the realization of better human settlements that are characterized more by harmony, civilization and sustainable development, which will enjoy a very important practical significance and far-reaching strategic significance for the construction of a harmonious resource-saving and environment-friendly society, as well as the future development of China and the world.


Prof. Wu Liangyong with the School of Architecture in Tsinghua University, both CAE and CAS Member, made a keynote speech entitled “Human Settlements at Academic Frontiers”. In his presentation, Wu pointed out that human settlements construction is a common undertaking for all humanity. Wu continued to say that we should not only carry forward the traditional Chinese wisdom in human settlements, but also absorb the essence of the western studies in various fields, in order to solve the practical problems facing China and contribute to the construction of a sound human settlement for the world. The current focus for sciences of human settlements in China should be put on the exploration of the road of transformation. And sciences of human settlements should be considered from the perspective of human development prospects, and human spirits as well as philosophical wisdom contained in human settlements should be taken seriously so as to build a theoretical framework for human settlements development.


Mr. Zhou Ganzhi, Special Advisor for the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, both CAE and CAS Member, presented on “To Sciences of Human Settlements – An Inevitable Trend for Development of Architecture”. In his presentation, Zhou summed up the whole developing process of the sciences of human settlements in China, and introduced a series of pioneering explorations that Wu Liangyong had carried out. Zhou believed that the development of the sciences of human settlements is closely related to the challenges facing China’s development. Therefore, Zhou held, we should make efforts to develop and improve the scientific theory applicable to our own human settlements, in order to solve practical problems in China’s urban and rural development. Prof. Alexander Tzonis, with the School of Architecture of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands, explained the significant roles sciences of human settlements could play in response to environmental crisis, economic crisis as well as social crisis in his presentation. Prof. Gary Hack, with the School of Architecture in University of Pennsylvania, pointed out the tremendous responsibilities that modern cities should shoulder in response to energy conservation and emission reduction, as well as climate change in his presentation.


In the round-table meeting held in the afternoon, domestic and foreign experts as well as government representatives had a heated discussion, exchanging viewpoints extensively with regard to the deepening and development of the sciences of human settlements. It was agreed that to develop the sciences of human settlements is to solve complex problems in China’s urbanization process by resorting to scientific methods. The sciences of human settlements can be regarded as a major theoretical contribution made by Chinese scholars in the field of urban-rural development, which provide a framework and methodology for scientific researches for the healthy development of China’s human settlements construction, as well as the integration of diverse disciplines related to architectural planning and design. It was also agreed in the meeting that the establishment of the sciences of human settlements can be regarded as a model for interdisciplinary innovation.


The symposium took China’s rapid urbanization and transformation of economic development pattern as the background, development of the sciences of human settlements as the theme, in which renowned experts and scholars home and abroad had extensive and in-depth discussion as to theoretical and practical problems facing China’s human settlements construction in the process of urbanization, as well as the disciplinary development and cooperation, and academic innovation. Specialists attending the symposium realized that China is undergoing the world’s largest, fastest and most influential urbanization. Therefore China’s urbanization related theories should be actively developed. The sciences of human settlements provide important theoretical basis for the integration of managerial departments as well as academic resources, for which relevant functional departments should be mobilized, cross-department cooperation should be carried out, administration and practice of multi-level human settlements planning and construction of strategic significance should be demonstrated, etc. Also interdisciplinary cooperation should be carried forward, with urban planning, architecture, architectural engineering, as well as economics, sociology, environmental science and geography being involved. In short, we should focus on the most pressing human settlements problems, and develop the sciences of human settlements with Chinese characteristics.


“International Symposium on Sciences of Human Settlements” is also one of the series of activities held in celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Tsinghua University. It was announced at the symposium that CAE Member Wu Liangyong donated 300,000 yuan, which was the prize money for Tan Kah Kee Science Award 2010, to set up “Wu Liangyong Foundation for Sciences of Human Settlements”, in order to reward personnel or institutions that have made remarkable achievements and exceptional contributions in this field. “Exhibition on Human Settlements Scientific Researches for Centennial Celebration of Tsinghua University” was also held when the symposium was in session. (By Gao Zhanjun, March 2011; translated by Liu Chang)