Urban Planners Build Support Through Weibo

In China, where government officials often have the final say on city projects, urban planners are using Weibo to make their voices heard by the public. From Abby at Global Voices:

According to Southern Weekly [zh], there are around 16,000 registered urban planners in China, theoretically responsible for everything from the layout of the city to the planning of a small road. However, according to a recent interview in Southern Weekly, most city planners admit that their work in China is often compromised. One urban planner stated:

“Government leaders usually have a strong opinion about the projects, although sometimes their ideas are not scientific. For example, leaders like wide roads and large squares.”

[...] Since 2011, more and more city planners have found a new platform to communicate with the public by using Weibo, which helped urban planning become more transparent and involving.

According to Southern Weekly, 80 percent of city planners use Weibo. They are the most critical group towards urban planning in China. For Ma Xiangming, chief engineer of Urban and Rural Planning Institute in Guangdong Province, his tweet changed the fate of the old buildings in Guangdong. In 2011, Ma tweeted about the demolition of old buildings on a street in Guangdong. Little did he realize that his post was soon retweeted thousands of times before it elevated into a public debate. Media[zh] also reported on it. Within 7 days, the city planning bureau decided to keep the old building due to pressure from the public.

See more on urban planning via CDT.