Queen's University

Funding helps develop economy, preserve heritage in China

 
2009-09-28

The School of Urban and Regional Planning has received $300,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency to assist the municipal government in Xi’an, China.

A delegation of Canadian experts, led by associate professor John Meligrana, will help develop land use policies and plans for economic development, and at the same time help conserve the heritage and protect the ethnic minorities in the ancient Chinese capital.

"We’re not experts on China, we’re experts on urban planning,” says Professor Meligrana. “The Xi’an government wants to grow their economy, but they also want to preserve their heritage, we’re going to help them find that balance. What is exceptional about this program is that we’re not going to China to tell them what to do. We’re going to assess the situation, show them how we achieve that balance in Canada, and use that to stimulate discussion.”

The Xi’an Municipal Government will work with the school on several issues, including how to foster different ethnic minority nationalities within the same urban area, how to protect and preserve the folk culture and lifestyle of ethnic minority nationalities, how to manage urban growth and change, and how to generate new economic activities.

“This project is a great opportunity for the school and the largest single grant we’ve ever received,” says Professor Meligrana. “We’re excited to get started.”

This November, Professor Meligrana and the Canadian experts will travel to Xi’an to examine the situation and begin their assessment. In early spring, a large group of Chinese delegates will travel to Canada to see first-hand how cities such as Vancouver, Quebec City, Mississauga and Kingston strike the balance between economic growth and heritage conservation. The examples will help stimulate dialogue between the two groups and together, they will develop Xi’an’s policies.

The School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s is world-renowned and has strong ties with the country of China. Over the last eight years, more than 400 officials representing provincial and local governments from all over China have been trained at the school. 

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