Zhangjiagang :
Veteran academician shares unique local vision

Wu Liangyong, veteran academician at the Chinese academies of science and engineering. [Photo/zjgxw.com]

Zhangjiagang, a port city located along the southern bank of the Yangtze River Delta, has stunned millions of people with its rapid development over the decades.

Wu Liangyong, a 95-year-old veteran academician with expertise in urban planning, is definitely one of the most distinguished contributors to the city's development. His far-sighted ideas for developing Zhangjiagang through its port resources and ecotourism have guided the once unknown fishing town into a flourishing port city.

Shuangshan Island, an ecological pearl and cultural calling card of Zhangjiagang, has deeply impressed the academician for years.

"I once went fishing on Shuangshan Island," Wu said, "The clear waters and green mountains are enticing, let alone the fresh and tasty fish!"

"Gold can be priced, but Shuangshan Island is priceless," Wu said, describing his first encounter with Shuangshan Island in 1982. He put forward the idea of developing Shuangshan in an eco-friendly sightseeing destination during his second visit to the island in 1993. The island's development has proved the academician's advanced ideas to be constructive. The island now attracts over one million tourists from at home and abroad every year.

The development of Zhangjiagang's major urban area is no exception, as Wu attached great importance to the local port economy in 1993.

The cargo handling capacity of Zhangjiagang Port reached 280 million metric tons in 2016, helping Suzhou Port – the city that oversees Zhangjiagang – obtain the title of the third largest port in China in 2016.

Wu is satisfied with Zhangjiagang's current development. He has even invited Yuan Lin, his student and associate professor at the School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, to visit Zhangjiagang in the future.

"It is a place worth coming and seeing," Wu said.