The world in which we live is still riven by the effects of the economic crisis that started in 2007 and by a range of unresolved conflicts. The world has however started to change in many ways with in particular the economic rise and/or social progress in emerging economies. A new international architecture for political and economic cooperation is starting to take shape (not without disagreement and conflict in some cases) as new development banks are established by the BRICs and in East Asia, as the European Union expands eastwards, as regional cooperation arrangements evolve and as the United States embarks on a pivot to Asia.
These trends are underpinned by trends in comparative global regional and urban development, and are themselves changing the context in which urban and regional development occurs, posing a set of challenges to which cities and regions must respond.
The rise of China is one of the main drivers of the reshaping of the world, although it faces challenges as it seeks to reform its model of development by promoting sustainable and more regionally balanced urbanization. This conference will take place in Hangzhou in eastern China which faces challenges of upgrading although it is already one of the leading centres for e-commerce in China.
The aim of this conference is to consider the ways in which (1) cities and regions throughout the world are facing up to and can adapt to these challenges, (2) cities and regions can help create an architecture and construct relationships that can contribute to the development of a world that is more harmonious (people-people and people nature) and capable of promoting common prosperity and (3) the map of economic and social development is consequently changing.