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Mayor Zhang Jianfei presents the success of Changsha's environmentally friendly development at the UNEP/ICLEI session during the Rio+20 Global Town Hall.
Mayor Zhang Jianfei welcomes ICLEI Capacity Center Director Monika Zimmermann and Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann to Changsha City.
Changsha Pioneer Zone Planning Exhibition Hall features eco-friendly building materials, among explanations of public policies, plans and achievements.
A party official at the Guangming Village talking to farmers who sell fresh farm produce at the curbside.

ICLEI networking with China: Featuring Changsha City's new districts, wetland parks, agro-tourism and happy communities

November 14, 2012

The audience was impressed when Mayor Zhang Jianfei of Changsha City, gave his presentation about his city’s urban development policies and environmental projects at a UNEP/ICLEI session in ICLEI’s Rio+20 Global Town Hall.

Upon Mayor Zhang’s invitation, ICLEI Secretary General Konrad Otto-Zimmermann and Capacity Center Director Monika Zimmermann visited Changsha for a meeting with the Mayor and city officials and site visits. Changsha, with a population of 7 million, is the capital of Hunan Province, south-central China. It ranks among the top ten Chinese cities with happiest communities.

The program included a visit to the Changsha Pioneer Zone Planning Exhibition Hall where the city displays its five-year targets, policies, plans, projects and achievements; the exhibition also informs about opportunities for green building and construction. The brand new Yanghu Wetland Park serves to combine nature conservation with infrastructure for recreation in midst of the densely populate city. Featuring areas for recreation, research and wildlife protection, is houses 3000 plant and 300 animal species.

Orange Island Park, dividing Xiang river, features a huge statue of the young Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong) and is an attraction for Chinese tourists.

Guangming Village is a model village for agro-tourism. The village and its farmland lie within the municipal boundaries of Changsha, yet the landscape invites for forest hikes, bicycle tours and fishing. Farmers are encouraged to lease their land to larger agricultural companies that can farm more efficiently and reach the urban food market, while renovating their houses to provide bed & breakfast to tourists. According to the Chinese chief, the model village project serves three purposes: environmental protection, environmental education, and generation of income for the rural population.

Discussions with the Mayor and the heads of the Changsha Development and Reform Commission, International Relations and Environment Departments provided insight in the urban development strategy. The meeting also served to explore how Chinese cities can most effectively engage with ICLEI and benefit from global networking.