For the first time in China’s long history, since 2014 the majority of its population now live in cities. Experts anticipate a need for up to 200 cities with over one million inhabitants in the next 25 years to be able to accommodate and make best use of the rural exodus. Urban development has become one of the top priorities of both the country and its ruling party, since only a viable solution to this substantial challenge will allow China the transition to a sustainable growth model. In Germany today, three out of four people live in cities. The country is also facing pressing challenges arising from increasing urbanization, including such issues as how to manage natural resources or improve air quality. At the same time, there are numerous initiatives, both by municipalities and independent associations or individuals, aimed at actively and sustainably shaping their neighborhoods and cities.
So far, Germany and China have not shared an interdisciplinary forum on sustainable urban development. This is why the Robert Bosch Stiftung, along the lines of its new focus area sustainable living spaces, plans to establish an interdisciplinary network for livable cities, to strengthen the cross-sectoral exchange between German and Chinese citymakers, promote innovative ideas and projects, and increase their visibility. In the context of the Federal Ministry for the Environment’s (BMUB) Sino-German urbanization partnership, German-Chinese city twinning partnerships will thus be complemented by a comprehensive concept for livable cities.
The project aims at identifying and connecting relevant innovative players in both countries and various sectors, improving the quality of activities in existing partnerships, and fostering the creation of new alliances. Besides sharing information and disseminating policy recommendations, the Citymakers China-Germany project will improve networking among experts by hosting periodical get-togethers and forums and support innovative project ideas.