November 11, 2011

Our Cities Ourselves opens in Zaha Hadid’s famed opera house in Guangzhou

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A packed group of urban designers, architects, politicians and residents gathered to discuss the critical role of sustainable transportation in managing urban growth at the opening of the Our Cities Ourselves exhibition at the Opera House in Guangzhou on November 11th. Lauded for its innovative design by Zaha Hadid, the Opera House is a landmark building in the city, attracting thousands of visitors and is a perfect location to discuss the future of cities.

Leading New York-based architect Michael Sorkin, who designed the New York rendering in the show, opened the exhibition alongside Tat Lam of Urbanus, the firm behind the Guangzhou rendering.

The panel discussed how cities throughout the world can manage huge surges in population by embracing the Our Cities Ourselves principles for transport in urban life. The exhibition features best practice examples from the Pearl River Delta.

Karl Fjellstrom, Director of ITDP China, noted: “More and more Chinese cities are finding that sustainable transport systems, like the Guangzhou BRT system, bike sharing schemes and pedestrian used city spaces, are helping turn the challenge of urban population growth into an opportunity. This exhibition demonstrates to Chinese and Asian cities seeking inspiration in transport and urban design that best practices can be found close to home. Our Cities Ourselves shows how cities all over the world are recreating themselves as compact, connected and people-centered. This is good news for citizens, business and the environment.”

This is a year for landmark figures; last month the seven billionth person joined the living human race, while the one-billionth car was added to the world’s fleet and, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population live in cities.

This global surge of growth is being felt most acutely in the cities of the developing world and perhaps nowhere more so than in China. The combination of rapid population growth and motorization in China’s mega cities like Guangzhou and Beijing, has led to problems with traffic congestion, air quality, road safety.

The Our Cities Ourselves exhibition features works from ten of the world’s leading architects which show how integrating urban planning with transport can enable cities to thrive, while also combating climate change and managing population growth. It showcases the transformational role of transportation and illustrates how the dream of a sustainable, equitable and livable urban future can be realized when transport is a core foundation.

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