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World Mega City Development Forum Opens
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The first high-level forum of the World Mega City Development opened Saturday in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu Province for promoting exchanges and cooperation among the mega and big cities in the world.

More than 300 participants, including more than 100 mayors or delegates from 43 cities of 25 countries and 16 Chinese mayors of Yangtze River Delta cities, attended the forum held in Nantong, a city located in the Yangtze River Delta which boasts the most of China's mega cities. Among the attendants are foreign politicians, including Fidel Lamos, former President of Philippines, Lee Sou Sung, former Prime Minister of Republic of Korea, Jenny Shipley, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Mega cities are playing a key role in promoting the economic globalization and regional integration and are greatly influenced by the globalization and integration as well. Although the maga cities in Yangtze River Delta have taken lead in the economic growth rate around the world for more than ten years, it is still very necessary for them to exchange and cooperate with other developed mega cities, said Gu Xiulian, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress.

"In our time, mega cities are not only the showcases but also the nuclei of regional development. This forum will focus on the common cultural, ecological, humanistic and social problems in the development, and will exchanges views on how best to overcome them," said Fidel Ramos, also the chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia (BRA).

"Mobility, technology and the increasingly borderless nature of our world means that we need to search for new ways to grasp the best practices, the best ideas, the best economic and environmental remedies and the new innovations and share them in such a way that many benefit," said Jenny Shipley.

Several foreign mayors and experts gave speeches at the opening ceremony, including vice mayor of Washington Rober C. Robb, Chief Executive of the Greater London Authority Jeffery Mayer, British economist Tom Cannon.

The forum, jointly held by Nantong Municipal Government, BRA and China Association of Mayors, is expected to pass the "Nantong Initiative" on Sept. 27.

In 1950, French geologist Jean Gottmann put forward, when he was engaged in a research about the densely populated northeastern coastal cities of the United States, a definition of Megalopolis (also translated to super city or giant city), suggesting that the eligible mega cities should meet with the minimum requirement of having at least 25 million residents and a population density of at least 250 persons per square kilometer. Mega Cities is the highest level of organization when a group of cities shoulder into mature stage of their development. The scale of mega cities can either be national level or even international level.

In light of Jean Gottmann's criterion, six different mega cities around the world can meet the requirement to top themselves as real Mega Cities, including the Coastal cities along the Atlantic Ocean, Northeastern USA., Mega cities of Great Lakes, North America, Pacific Ocean Coastal Cities of Japan, Mega cities of Northwestern Europe, Mega cities centered around London, Great Britain, Yangtze River Delta mega cities centered around Shanghai, China.

The Yangtze River Delta with 16 mega cities, covering only one percent of china's total land and six percent of the whole population, creates about 20 percent of the total Gross Domestic Production (GDP), 22 percent of the total income, 48 percent of total foreign investment and 31 percent to the total export volume of China, the official statistics show.  

(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2004)

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