Meeting with the local government of Yinan, a discussion on the future of the rural space and Sino-French cooperation
On 13 July 2017, leaders of Yinan City Hall, Shandong Province, SFACS (Sino-French Architectural Communication Society) and IFADUR (Institut Franco-Chinois d’Architecture et de Développement durable Urbain et Rural) met in Shanghai and had a meeting on the theme of "Innovative rural space" at the SFACS office. Several topics were discussed, such as current issues concerning the development of rural areas in China, French experiences in planning and sustainable technological innovations in rural areas, and the field and the model of Franco-Chinese cooperation in the future.
First, Mr. Jiang Ning, general secretary of the Communist Party of Yinan Municipality, presented the overall situation of Yinan development. Yinan focuses its development on tourism, leisure and enhancement of the ecological environment by emphasizing its four key assets "history of the homeland, natural landscape, cultural history and hot springs."
- "History of the Homeland": Yimeng mountain is one of the three foundations of the Chinese revolution (the other two being Yanan and Jingang). Yimeng Mountain is classified as a Category 4A national tourist site. In addition, a patriotic film center is based on the site.
- "Natural landscape": Yinan owns remarkable picturesque villages, such as Zuquan (the word Zuquan means bamboo and natural water source), site 4A is elected "one of the 10 most beautiful rural villages in China". As for the village of Maquan, it is renowned for  health and entertainment activities through agro-tourism innovations.
- "Hot Springs": Yinan has hot water containing the Radon element. There are only 4 Radon thermal springs in China. The Yinan government wants to develop a major brand of their thermal source. There is already a themed thermal village in place classified site 4A. For the future of Yinan, the government's goal is to "make a vanguard campaign in national rural tourism innovation" and "a demonstration of a beautiful campaign for Chinese rural spaces." The Municipality of Linyi and Shandong Province each year invest 70 million RMB to support the development of Yinan. Currently, many fields and grounds are abandoned by young people who prefer to find work in big cities. The challenge of the Yinan government is to revitalize the villages through innovative projects, in order to attract high-end businesses and maintain the inhabitants. In recent years, many projects have been successfully developed thanks to the support of local governments, such as the "City-Campaign" project of a young group.
IFADUR presented some representative projects in rural areas. Mr Li Liguo, President of IFADUR, mentioned the ecological, cultural and sustainable aspects of their methodologies and practices. He introduced some cutting-edge French technologies in the development of rural areas. For example, Zest Anywhere is a company that provides a self-healing architecture system, thanks to their energy transformation technology (hydro and electricity) and the treatment of waste water. This solution makes it possible to avoid building heavy infrastructures in the countryside and especially for the mountainous areas which are hard to build land. As for plant concrete, it is a new construction material 0 or carbon negative, which has many qualities: very good thermal performance, sound insulation, safe and healthy material. Moreover, this material encourages the circular economy in rural areas because it uses agricultural waste-stems as the main elements of plant concrete. Concerning cultural and tourist development, Mr Li Liguo talked about PVCP (Pierre & VacancesCentral Parc), which is the world leader in high-quality tourism products, as a holiday village, a family hotel ... which are elements attractive for Yinan. In the end, Li Liguo presented the Christmas market in Strasbourg as a festive event. It is interesting to bring the European Christmas market to China: on the one hand it encourages the international cultural exchange, and on the other it helps to attract tourists and increase the reputation of Yinan.