7 East Asian cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen (China), Taichung, Pingtung (Chinese Taipei), Kitakyushu, Yokohama (Japan), and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) showcased their actions and achievements in strengthening urban resilience at the Resilient Cities Asia Pacific 2016 (RCAP2016) held in Melaka, Malaysia during 2-4 March.
Shu Zhu, Regional Director and China Representative of the ICLEI East Asia Secretariat chaired the session on “Resilience Actions in East Asian cities” held on 2 March, where experts and city representatives from the East Asia region shared their experience and innovation in tackling risks and challenges brought or intensified by climate change.
Ulaanbaatar and Shenzhen: Urban resilience through integrated low-carbon city development
Bolormaa Ganbold, Head of Environment and Green Development from Ulaanbaatar City, shared the challenges faced by her city and its future plans and solutions, particularly on cutting GHG emissions to tackle air pollution, implementing the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle- principle to reduce waste, and adopting an integrated water management approach to ensure urban water security.
Providing an overview of Shenzhen’s low-carbon projects, Shaoqiang Ma, Deputy Director General from Shenzhen, presented the practices related to urban resilience in these projects.
Kitakyushu, Yokohama and Pingtung: Smart energy and technologies
Tomoko Takemoto from Kitakyushu’s Environmental Bureau shared two best practices from her city: Hydrogen Town, the world’s first proof-of-concept energy model town to reuse hydrogen produced by factories as a by-product to generate energy for the public, commercial and residential buildings; and Smart Community Creation Project, where energy use per region are optimized via a smart management system that coordinates both current and new energy supply.
Yuhei Hatano, Officer from Yokohama introduced the Nippa-Suehiro Main Line used to collect rainwater and Yokohama Smart City Project to manage the city’s energy system that incorporates the processes of production, transmission, and consumption.
Ming-Der Chen, Assistant Executive Director from Pingtung shared his city’s experience in utilizing solar energy technology and how the once unused Guangtasi wetland is turned into a self-sufficient district by building long-legged houses and industries.
Guangzhou and Taichung: Emergency management and risk assessment
Representing Guangzhou, Weiju Lei, Deputy Director General of Guangzhou City, introduced the city’s institutional framework, regulations, and relevant awareness promotion activities on emergency management. Citing a recent snowstorm caused by a sudden cold wave from the north as an example, Lei explained how setting up an on-site operation office and shelters were effective in addressing train delays that affected over 100,000 passengers in the railway station.
Yu-fang Chen, Public Health Inspector, from Taichung introduced the city’s strategies and measures in responding to major disasters like typhoons and earthquakes. Some of the actions included conducting climate risk assessment and vulnerability study and developing a monitoring and warning system.
Sponge City: water in urban resilience
Besides cities presentation, Wu Che, Professor from the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, also introduced the concept of “Sponge City”, China’s national initiative on urban water management by China to tackle urban flood, pollution, drought, and groundwater problems. Integrating green and grey infrastructure, Che explained that sponge city is a strategy that combines small-scale, distributed solutions at the source with multi-scale, distributed, and centered stormwater infrastructure.
Started in Bangkok in 2015, and built upon ICLEI’s Resilient Cities Congress Series based in Bonn, Germany, the Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific is an annual forum on urban resilience and climate mitigation focusing on the Asia-Pacific region.