June 21 (NBD) -- In addition to hard sides like population size and GDP, soft sides like openness, tolerance, convenience and hospitality constitute a city's impressive, unique and individual culture, Paul Owens, director of the World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF), said at The World Cities Culture (Tianfu) Symposium held in southwest China's Chengdu city Wednesday.
Paul Owens (Photo/NBD)
The World Cities Culture Forum was established in London in 2012, and now has 38 member cities across the world. Last August, Chengdu participated in the Forum as the 34th member city.
Taking the example of the concept of kindness, which is part of Tianfu culture, Owens said the idea of kindness and human interaction is very important, especially for big cities.
When asked about why Chengdu was chosen to host the Forum, he explained the WCCF is very keen to show the rest of the world what's happening in Chinese cities, and holding the event in Chengdu allows people in the rest of the world to gain an insight into the culture Chinese cities.
According to him, Chengdu is interesting to other cities, because of the amazing achievements made around industries, music, fashion, and areas linking to cultural innovation. It also has a great system for quality design.
He also spoke highly of the city's cultural atmosphere and friendliness. People there are delightful and friendly, which is unusual in other big cities. Besides, citizens have a chance to express and participate in the culture.
Regarding Chengdu Declaration announced Thursday, Owens said it highlights the importance of city-to-city collaboration. Basically, the key aspect of international cooperation is culture. Trade, investment, and innovation are very important, but have to be done with cultural understanding.
Compared with declarations made by other member cities, Chengdu Declaration gives prominence to two key points: the importance of city-to-city collaboration and the meaningful cultural understanding and collaboration along the Belt and Road Initiative.
When asked to give Chengdu some advice about how to become a better city, Owens said the city probably has more to teach him more than he has to teach the city. According to him, the key thing is to play to its strength. A very successful cultural city in the world is very open and very diverse.