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    Chinese Urban and Land Use Planners Visit Stockton for Ideas

    Feb 2, 2011

    Urban planners from eastern China's largest city are on a quest to learn how to improve Shanghai, a journey that has brought them to Stockton. These professionals are spending six weeks meeting with local Stockton officials, city planners and University of the Pacific professors, to learn the best ways to plan out future development in their hometown.  At the conclusion of their six-week training period, the planners will then embark on a four-week visit to major cities in the United States.

    The program began Dec., 21 and will continue until March 3. The Shanghai Urban Planning and Land Resources Administration Bureau selected 20 professionals working in the fields of engineering and urban planning and land resources to attend this program. The attendees left home and traveled across the globe to learn what those in Stockton and in major cities in the United States have to teach them. At the end of the 11-week visit they will travel back to Shanghai where they will produce and present project reports to their government using the knowledge that they gained while here.

     "Pacific is reaching out beyond its gates and across the globe," said Jin Gong, associate provost for Research and Collaborative Programs, who built the relationship that made this program possible. "We are excited that we were able to bring professionals, already working in their respective fields, to the San Joaquin Valley to see what they could learn from us."

    The visitors are here because Pamela A. Eibeck, president of University of the Pacific, and Gong have built connections in China. President Eibeck visited with the secretary of planning and land resources management at the Shanghai Urban Planning and Land Resources Administration Bureau in early June 2010. It was through their contacts there as well as the Universities connections with city leaders and others within the community that helped initiate this program. Along with Gong, University of the Pacific's Center for Professional Continuing Education and the Office of Graduate Studies worked together to facilitate the visit and education of the visitors from Shanghai.

    The training includes a wide variety of instructors. Among those the visitors have already met are members of the Stockton Chamber, Stockton Visitors Center, the City of Stockton Planning Department, representatives from major Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto law firms, Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston and the California State Commissioner of Real Estate, Jeff Davi. The participants have also heard from many professors at University of the Pacific and other innovative people and businesses in the San Joaquin Valley.

    Local officials and Pacific professors hope this is the beginning of a partnership that could lead to new, innovative ways Stockton can revitalize its downtown to spur an economic boom. 

     "This six-week visit is not a vacation for these professionals," said Bob Bechill, the associate director for Training and Programs, Center for Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE). "They spend all day participating in lectures and meeting with people then they spend their evenings studying and preparing for the next day."

    For more information contact Bob Bechill at 209.946.2424 or bbechill@pacific.edu.