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MIT-led conference looks to Sichuan's future after quake

An MIT-organized conference this week in Beijing represents the first major international academic gathering dedicated to assisting Chinese leaders with post-disaster planning issues following the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck in May.

The centerpiece of the weeklong conference is the City Resilience Roundtable, where MIT urban planning faculty will join disaster recovery experts from around the world to discuss rebuilding and restoration efforts in quake-stricken Sichuan province.

The conference is being sponsored and organized by the China Planning Network, a group that MIT has played a leading role in cultivating since its creation in 2004.

"The activities of the China Planning Network have attracted high-level attention in China, involving participation of mayors and vice-ministers, leadership from top universities, and considerable exposure in a wide variety of media." says Larry Vale, head of MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). He points out that this year's event was primarily organized by two DUSP graduate students--Jinhua Zhao and Zhan Guo--and an alumnus, Ming Guo.

MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay will offer videotaped opening remarks and condolences on behalf of MIT at the City Resilience Roundtable. The roundtable will be followed by an overnight trip to Chengdu to view areas that were severely damaged by the earthquake, and a public meeting with the region's mayors and vice governor.

MIT hopes to takes concrete steps toward aiding the millions of people affected by this catastrophic disaster. For more information on the conference and rountable, please visit

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