The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has launched a building conservation centre in China to collect and share international expertise.
Urbanisation has been remarkable in China as millions flock from the impoverished countryside to towns and suburbs that spring up, sometimes, in a matter of months. The number of cities has grown from under 200 in the late 1970s to nearly 700 today.
This is good news for people moving out of rural squalour but the downside is that China's ancient buildings nestled discreetly in downtown locations often get neglected - or bulldozed - amidst the rampant development.
Now, though, developers and municipal governments are waking up to the need to conserve China's delicate built heritage, and the launch of the CIOB's Building Conservation Centre in Suzhou, China will be a significant boost to that effort.
Organised by the CIOB and supported by UNESCO's World Heritage Institute of Training and Research, the conservation centre will host conferences and other knowledge sharing events on ancient building conservation.
Speaking at the launch, covered by Chinese television and print media, CIOB Past President Prof. Li Shirong said: "If we don't pay attention to this our history will be dismantled. There is a lot of expertise around the world and we can learn a lot from the CIOB."
The centre will be housed in the old part of Suzhou, a city of seven million near Shanghai that was founded in 500 BC. Suzhou is famous for its buildings and intricate walled gardens dating back to the 17th Century. The centre will be housed in a building provided by Suzhou New Canglang Real Estate Development Company.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) represents for the public benefit the most diverse set of professionals in the construction industry.
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