A&M to host Chinese mayors, city managers

Summer urban planning workshop aimed at enhancing officials' decision-making ability

A workshop aimed at enhancing the decision-making abilities of Chinese mayors and city administrators will be held this summer at Texas A&M University. Tailored for Chinese officials who are responsible for the urban development and management of cities of various sizes and types, the event is co-sponsored by A&M’s colleges of Architecture and Geosciences, the Bush School of Public Services and A&M’s offices of the Vice President for Research and the Assistant Provost for International Studies.

The month-long workshop will include two weeks of seminars, lectures and design charrettes at Texas A&M’s main campus, followed by a two-week tour of specially selected U.S. cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Workshop participants must have at least one year of work experience in city planning or management and have earned a college degree or equivalent.

During the touring part of the program, the Chinese visitors will meet with city managers, urban planners and landscape architects while visiting neighborhoods, central business districts, downtown redevelopment projects, corporate office and research development parks, theme parks, historic preservation projects, eco-tourism spots and urban infrastructures and facilities.

The event promises to be an excellent promotional tool for Texas A&M programs in urban planning said Chang-Shang Huang, an associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, one of the workshop leaders.

“After attending this seminar and going home to China, Texas A&M will be the first place they think of when they need help,” said Huang. “The exposure could also help Texas A&M’s international recruitment efforts.”

The program will be assisted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the World Bank Institute, the Overseas Chinese Landscape Architects Association, the China National Institute for Public Administration, and the Chinese Mayors’ Association.

If the 2004 workshop is a success, Huang hopes it will become an annual event. The theme of the workshop, he said, could be altered each year to accommodate the changing needs of program participants.

This summer’s workshop will focus on six elements already identified by the participants:

  • History and current trends of American urban development and planning;
  • The American legal system and planning laws;
  • Sustainable urban development;
  • Urban transportation;
  • Information technology in municipal government; and
  • Local governance and political conflict resolution.
Upon completing the program, participants will be issued a certificate signed by both the College of Architecture and the George Bush School for Public Service.

“The university’s function is changing,” Huang said. “We are not just focused on the traditional student, but are moving towards continuing education and we are reaching out to the most influential groups in the world.”

As China moves forward with plans to develop its western region, the knowledge gained by participants in the “Urban Planning and Management Workshop for Chinese Mayors,” Huang said, could have profound implications on the nation’s future.


- The End -

^ Back to top