Bert de Muynck | MovingCities published in a recent issue of MARK magazine an interview with Sun Jiwei 孙继伟, District Mayor of Shanghai Jiading District People’s Government [Jiading New City 嘉定区]. Currently Sun Jiwei 孙继伟 is fully engaged in public administration and plotting the future of a district with 1.2 million inhabitants, about an hour’s drive from the heart of Shanghai. Jiading is no Curitiba, Bogotá or Ljubljana, where mayors with architectural aspirations – Jaime Lerner, Enrique Peñalosa and Zoran Janković, respectively – have been given mandates by the people. In Jiading, as in towns and cities all over China, the mayor serves the People’s Government. Interview now online.
From the interview:
Sun Jiwei: We have confidence that we can stand out from other large-scale urban areas in China – and thus avoid the problem of uniformity. We have the advantages offered by good quality control and equally good professional skills. We work together with excellent architects. I always feel a certain regret regarding China’s national large-scale development projects. Many leaders and participants involved in urban development have rushed to the fray without care or consideration. I like to compare the current urban development in China to an inexperienced driver speeding down the motorway in a car with broken brakes. As a result, the number of casualties in our urban development is very high. […] Originally, ‘Made in China’ was an international symbol of cheap, low-quality goods. Today, ‘Constructed in China’ has the same connotation that ‘Made in China’ used to have. To improve the quality of our buildings, we have still a long way to go. Two factors are important. One is the improvement of quality, standards and technology during the construction process. The other is a need for better maintenance of completed buildings.