Working around the world: Guangzhou, China
Jiaqi Chen, planner and consultant at Citynet International Architects & Associate, talks about her work and the issues facing the area.
After witnessing poor, rundown towns being transformed into beautiful places, I decided that planning was a way to positively shape the world around me. Little did I know I was signing up to 16-hour days! In my current role I analyse regional development policies and strategies, and identifying land for developers to apply for a permit to develop a project. I am also involved in creating conceptual plans and urban design frameworks for towns and cities for the government to devise regulatory and site plans.
The city government, led by the mayor, plays the largest role in decision-making in the planning process here, but many involved are not trained as professional planners. On top of this, as the government changes every five years, so do the planning system and regulations. The planning system could be improved by becoming more independent and stable so that there are less regular changes. We need to continue to build the standing of the planning profession so that our advice holds greater weight. Planners need to be more involved in the decision-making.
The accreditation of the RTPI is highly appreciated by the government and developers. In China, planning only became a professional career 20 years ago, but the country has huge demand for it owing to rapid urbanisation. Many landmark projects were designed by foreign designers and planners with RTPI certification.
* This article was first published in the September 2015 issue of The Planner
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