On Feb. 23-24th 2023, WANG Qian, the team leader of IURC China, together with DAI Guowen, IURC cluster manager in urban planning, visited Taicang (Suzhou). Taicang is known for its booming industrial sector and has been seeking to expand its cooperation with Germany. The city was recognised as the “Sino-German base for business cooperation” and “Sino-German demonstration zone for SME cooperation”. More than 300 German enterprises are based in Taicang. Taicang’s strategy in Sino-German cooperation is an important step towards achieving sustainable economic growth and urban development. The IURC team met with Taicang county governors and experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities that Taicang faces in its urban development. The team prioritized cooperation areas that are not only impactful but also tailored to the specific context of Taicang’s urbanization process.
Ms. WANG Qian emphasized the benefits of EU-China cooperation for Taicang’s urban and industrial development agenda, recognizing the importance of joint efforts to promote sustainable and inclusive growth. Ms. DAI Guowen provided expert advice to Taicang on how to leverage innovative and sustainable urban planning practices to achieve economic and social progress through strategic partnerships within the framework of EU-China cooperation. The potential partnership between Taicang and the urban region of Stuttgart is currently under discussion, with a specific focus on:
- Sustainable urban and transport planning
- Nature-based solutions
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The IURC-China team also visited the Taicang Loujiang New Town, the main development for Taicang’s urban expansion for integrating into greater Shanghai area. The team and Taicang officials engaged in a brainstorming session to identify common objectives and interests between Taicang and Stuttgart, for example, nature-based solutions in urban planning, TOD in transport planning, industrial symbiosis in energy and waste management, and ESG in economic development. In addition, other cooperation opportunities related to implementing Taicang’s development plan were discussed. Under the framework of IURC, Taicang and Stuttgart have expressed their commitment to cooperate through:
- Conducting municipal government dialogues to exchange development strategies, policies, financial incentives, and regulatory frameworks related to urban planning, transportation, and energy, for example, exchanging and recognizing energy efficiency standards and green urban district indicators.
- Facilitating knowledge exchange among research institutions, industry associations, and enterprises, conducting comparative studies of policies, standards, and technological innovations, and publishing joint reports..
- Implementing pilot projects involving the participation of institutions and enterprises, with a focus on promoting the application of technology & innovation, and disseminating exemplar pilot projects. Within these joint projects, experts recognized by both Stuttgart and Taicang provide support and guidance based on the specific needs of each project, recommending solutions and measurements through joint seminars, training sessions, and project diagnoses, in order to help projects achieve their expected results and contribute to the realization of green and low-carbon development goals.
Going forward, Taicang will finalize a list of potential collaborative projects and stakeholders. Further bilateral meetings between Stuttgart and Taicang are scheduled to take place in March 2023. This collaboration presents an opportunity for both cities to identify best practices and engage in joint efforts to advance sustainable urban development.