During the event, participants explored innovative programs in sustainability in Changsha, under the leadership of Mayor Zhang Jianfei, to address the city’s rapid population growth and the resulting increased demands on resources and infrastructure. These efforts are essential for the continued economic growth of the city and the creation of a thriving middle class. Changsha’s population is projected to grow to over 8 million people (up from its current 3 million residents) within the next 10 years. By comparison, only about 10 cities in the United States exceed a population of one million.
During the event, The Paulson Institute and the city of Changsha agreed to cooperate on a series of projects aimed to bolster the city’s sustainability. Mayor Zhang, formerly a transportation expert at The World Bank, has made environmental protection a core part of his agenda through such measures as banning logging and introducing programs to conserve water and increase water quality through pricing programs.
The Paulson Institute is developing cooperative programs with Changsha and other cities in partnership with the China Center Center for International Economic Exchanges, China Mayor’s Association, the CCDA, and Energy Innovations – as well as leading global sustainability experts – to help China’s municipal leaders devise creative ways to increase the sustainability of their cities. As part of this effort, the Institute is sponsoring pilot programs in cities and testing a diagnostic tool designed to help Mayor’s determine their sustainability priorities and collaborate with experts on potential solutions to their post pressing challenges. In 2013, the Institute also will launch a multi-week training program for Mayors to learn more about this tool and about best practices in sustainability that could be implemented in their respective cities. Additionally in 2013, the Institute will launch an award program, chaired by former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, to recognize cities for excellent projects that can be scaled in China.