Zhu has been the chair of the World Historical and Cultural Canal Cities Cooperation Organization (WCCO) since 2012, and has also served as party secretary of the city of Jiangyin and as mayor of Yangzhou, the ‘first city of the Grand Canal’.
Zhu personally participated in the selection of China’s Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal for the World Heritage List in 2014. He has extensive insights and experience in the development of Chinese social organisations and contemporary social governance.
Through his leadership, the WCCO has become a platform for economic and cultural exchanges focused on the world’s canal cities.
Zhu will address the conference on how the WCCO is supporting the renovation of China’s most famous canal. Through economic and ecological restoration and investment in heritage and cultural research, it is intended that a “human community with shared destiny” will develop to create deeper co-operation and regeneration opportunities for China’s canals.
Zhu Minyang will address the conference under its first theme, ‘Restore’, which calls for reflection on how 200-year-old man-made navigations remain relevant for people today.
Over the course of the conference, a variety of speakers from across Europe, Canada and the US will detail restoration works along their waterways as well as how they ensure that no heritage value is lost in these restorations.
John McKeown will speak on restoring the Royal Canal, Roger Squires will cover new approaches to restoration, while Pam Veinotte discusses evolving heritage assets to meet modern-day needs.
Restoration of the Shannon–Erne Waterway is the subject of Joseph Gillespie’s talk, while
Rudy Van der Ween talks the re-opening of the Lower Scheldt in the city centre of Ghent in Belgium, and Rob Vrojliks puts the focus on Limburg in the Netherlands and its regional masterplan approach.
From the US, William Holdsworth will explain how the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Aqueduct restoration at Williamsport, Maryland brings history alive, while Theron Robson talks maintenance of heritage lock gates on the River Shannon, and Roger Alsater assays preservation efforts for the Göta Canal in Sweden.
‘Regenerate’ (focused on water management challenges) and ‘Reimagine’ (on engaging a wider audience with their local waterways) are the other two tracks at the World Canals Conference which begins in 37 days’ time. Details can be found on the World Canals Conference website.