Newsgd.com: over the past twenty years, there have been a major transformation of Guangzhou. What's your impression of these changes and transformation? What new opportunities do you see in this city?
Helena Balthammar: last year, I was here attending the Guangzhou Award which is an international urban development and innovation competition. Guangzhou is a very beautiful city and it's a very large city. Linkoping is a city with hundred and fifty six thousand inhabitants. So Guangzhou is much bigger, which was my first impression, of course.
And this year, I’m glad to be in Guangzhou once again. I witnessed Linkoping University and Guangzhou University Research Center report on their achievements of the passing year. I find Guangzhou also has very innovative universities and very innovative businesses.
I also spoke with the other mayors in Sweden who have been here several times. We all think that there is a lot of progress and prosperity in Guangzhou. At the same time, Linkoping is a very prosperous city in Sweden. By working together, we could solve problems together and learn a lot from each other.
Helena Balthammar, Mayor of Linkoping[Photo\Newsgd.com]
Newsgd.com: Which areas see major corporation between Guangzhou and Linkoping? And how do these promote the development of two cities?
Helena Balthammar: we're very proud of the corporation that we’ve maintained for twenty years. Our cooperation all started with communities in the field of science. But now we see more areas that we can develop, especially when it comes to ecological sustainability.
As cities and communities grow, so do our needs and demands on the planet. I see Guangzhou and Linkoping have different experiences but similar challenges, and we are both working hard to address these problems.
This is why we are so pleased with the cooperation we have established with Guangzhou and the Guangzhou University. I think the joint research center can make our researches and ideas complement to each other.
Having attended the Guangzhou University-Linkoping University workshop this morning, I found out about many studies and much of the work that has been carried out at the center. These involved (things like) finding sustainable and viable solutions to urban living and development under specific situations of two cities.
Newsgd.com: Linkoping has been focusing on urban sustainability. And it’s also known for efforts in strengthening the ties between academia and industry. Could you share some of your experience in these areas? How do you think the strengths of Linkoping could contribute to the cooperation between two cities?
Helena Balthammar: over the year, Linkoping has invested heavily into energy production facilities. And one such major investment to have recently opened is the new incineration plant. This waste-management facility turns waste into electricity and heat, which will safe-guard the city’s energy needs for the future and also reduce the reliance on coal and oil in energy production.
We say that Linkoping is “a city where ideas come true”. Living in this innovative world, universities have a lot of research ideas. And in Linkoping, we work on transforming these ideas into companies. I think this will be important also for the future cooperation between Guangzhou and Linkoping—how can we get the research ideas to become new companies. In the future, I hope there will be a database for joint research ideas and more cooperation between companies from the two cities.
Author: Jasmine Yin
Editor: Simon Haywood & Olivia Ouyang