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
Workshop participants must have at least one year of work experience
in city planning or management and have earned a college degree
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
This summer’s workshop will focus on six elements already
identified by the participants:
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.
- History and current trends of American urban development
- The American legal system and planning laws;
- Sustainable urban development;
- Urban transportation;
- Information technology in municipal government; and
- Local governance and political conflict resolution.
“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.