On July 18, the Shanghai Planetarium on the bank of Lingang Dishui Lake was officially opened to the public. This planetarium, which has the largest construction area in the world, immediately became a “check-in place” for Shanghai residents and tickets sold out fast. People can see the precious lunar soil brought back to the earth by the Chang’e-5 rover in the “Journey” exhibition area in the museum.
Just 10 days before the planetarium opened, the Pudong Art Museum was also unveiled. The art gallery is located in the core area of Xiaolujiazui, covering an area of 13,000 square meters. From Turner, Monet, to Eliasson, people can enjoy wonderful artistry here.
From the world’s largest planetarium to the most expensive art museum, these “Pudong’s Best” are somewhat different from the past. The “Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on Supporting the High-Level Reform and Opening up of Pudong New Area to Build a Leading Area for Socialist Modernization” proposes that Pudong should become a model for modern urban governance and improve the level of scientific, refined, and intelligent governance.
01 Recreating a “new Pudong”
On November 20, 1992, on the third floor of the Shanghai International Trade Center, top planning and design masters from all over the world expressed their opinions around five elaborate Lujiazui planning models. The Japanese designer’s model looks like an integrated circuit board, the Italian proposal is an oval castle, the British contributed the idea of an ancient Roman arena, and the French design is full of modern abstract romance…
Nowadays, Shanghai people are no longer unfamiliar with the planning of these modern cities. The beautiful skyline of Lujiazui has amazed the world.
A modern city is a huge and complex ecosystem. It not only carries row upon row of skyscrapers, but also accommodates the small living space between people. It is not only related to the economic and social development, but also related to the city’s cultural connotation, and ecological environment. It penetrates all aspects of the governance, supervision, and operation of the urban fabric.
The exploration of building an ideal city in Shanghai and Pudong has never ceased. In the first spring of the 1990s, the development and opening of Pudong led the transformation of the entire city. Shanghai led the entire Yangtze River Basin and the whole country to start a new chapter of reform and opening.
After more than 30 years, the central government once again gave Pudong a new major task of reform and opening. This time, Pudong will be built into a “leader for socialist modernization.” By 2035, a new modern city will be fully completed, and modern governance will be fully realized. By 2050, Pudong’s urban governance capabilities and governance effectiveness will become a global model and a socialist modern power.
Pudong will promote the innovation of governance methods, governance models, and governance concepts, and take the lead in building a governance system that integrates economic governance, social governance, and urban governance. It will organically connect the different elements of governance to builds cities into beautiful homes where people and nature coexist in harmony. This is the profile of the future of Pudong. This blueprint also means that Pudong’s urban construction will commence a new era.
02 The road to upgrading the “Urban Brain” (The district’s data center)
In Area A on the fourth floor of the Urban Transport Center, there is a screen that displays real-time information from 3 million IoT sensing devices in the Pudong area of more than 1,200 square kilometers.
On April 8 this year, the upgraded version of Pudong’s “Urban Brain” was launched, integrating the 104 economic governance scenarios, 50 urban governance scenarios, and 11 social governance scenarios into 10 categories and 57 governance scenarios.
The office of Jiang Bin, the head of the Science and Technology Information Department of the Urban Transport Center, is in Area C on the fourth floor of the Urban Transport Center. He has been involved in the formation of the “Urban Brain” since 2017. When the construction of the Urban Transport Center was first proposed, many people felt that it was nothing more than a large command screen. However, there is much more to it.
If Pudong is compared to a person, then active data from the area are equivalent to vital signs to observe whether a person is healthy or not. The advantage of the “Urban Brain” is to use a platform to perceive the whole area and integrate real-time data and resources of the district emergency office, public security, 120 emergency centers, urban management and law enforcement, city appearance and environmental protection, market management, construction and transportation, and other management departments. This was version 1.0 of the “Urban Brain” launched in Pudong in 2018.
“When the framework of the Urban Transport Center was set up, the difficulty was to move the various commissions, offices, bureaus and sub-centers to the platform to realize information sharing,” recalled Jiang Bin. In 2019, Pudong’s “Urban Brain” was upgraded to version 2.0, breaking through the information and technical barriers of the different departments. For the management of a road, the Urban Transport Center can link together environmental protection, transportation, construction management committees and road maintenance departments and other units to greatly improve efficiency.
In 2020, the “Urban Brain” version 3.0 was released. Version 3.0’s biggest difference from previous versions is that it uses the construction of application scenarios to drive intelligent advancement. Starting from the needs of the “enterprise side” and the “resident side”, the Urban Transport Center sorted out 57 scenarios that can be handled centrally, and creatively integrated economic governance, social governance, and urban governance.
“In the past, Pudong has made innovations in the three areas of economic governance, urban governance, and social governance, and has been at the forefront,” said Zhao Yong, Chief Expert of the Digital Government Construction Research Center of the Municipal Party School. He expressed that Pudong must play a leading role and build a deeper Level of coordination.
A deeper level of coordination means that the platform can not only cross-field, cross-level, and cross-department. What the “Urban Brain” realizes is no longer the current governance, but the monitoring of the dynamic process, research and judgments on future development, promote more scientific decision-making, and allocate resources more rationally. It also means that Pudong’s urban governance will start from department-centered to service target-centered. Each department performs their duties according to their responsibilities and actively coordinate linkage to integrate services around the needs for the service targets.
03 The smartest “Urban Brain”
There is a proverb in Shanghai dialect called “Dojo in a snail shell”, which reflects the delicate character of Shanghainese to a certain extent. The governance of a mega-city should be combined with the individuality of the city in which it is located. Refined management is like a governance model tailored for Shanghai.
Recently, Jiang Bin and his team discovered that the more smart sensors there are in a city, the greater the pressure on work personnel to deal with. The intelligent noise management system is very sensitive. When a bus passes by, it will sound an alarm, but the vehicle has already passed by the time staff arrive at the scene. There is no parking space in the community at night, and some residents park their cars on fire sensors which triggers the alarm.
“A more scientific urban governance system is to reduce the burden on workers, not to dispose them.” This is Jiang Bin’s understanding of the word “leading”, and it also reflects the connotation of leading the construction of the district from a certain perspective.
Since Pudong promoted the construction of the urban transportation center, the “Urban Brains” in other districts of Shanghai and even across the country have also been gradually built. As the technology gets adopted by more areas, what remains of Pudong’s advantage? The advantage is to fully integrate technology into business practice, achieve mechanism innovation, and process reengineering.
On the “Urban Brain” platform, citizens can upload various city data and urban issues. This year, Pudong will continue to strengthen its service system and promote 18 projects backed by citizen demand and 10 categories of 35 livelihood projects. The district will open 25 new schools and speed up the construction of several major municipal hospitals. Four of the seven major senior care institutions will be completed this year with one in every corner of the district (north, south, east, west). Pudong will also promote the completion and opening of the Shanghai Library East Building, Pudong Football Stadium, Pudong Youth Activity Center, Lujiazui and the World Expo “Double Water Ring” attraction, the northern area of the Expo Cultural Park, and the Second Binjiang Forest Park.
These projects must not only be concrete, but also institutionalized. If there is a “Pudong Plan” for “modern urban governance”, then the combination of the two should be of great significance. Urban governance is ultimately for people. In the future, Pudong will become best practice for the concept of a people’s city. Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in life, everyone can participate in governance in an orderly manner, and everyone can enjoy a quality life.