(COURTESY OF JIANG PENG)
Interviewee: Jiang Peng, male, 29, electrical engineer
Place of birth: Beijing
Current residence: Beijing
Cities visited: Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Rome, and London (in Europe); Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Xi'an, Urumqi, Lanzhou, and Taiyuan (in China)
Understanding of "Better City, Better Life": Clean, environmentally friendly, and vigorous growth. The city should be equipped with modern transportation and telecommunications, in addition to a fine combination of ancient and modern culture.
Copenhagen, capital of Denmark and the homeland of The Little Mermaid, the heroine of the well-known fairytale "The Little Sea Maid" written by Hans Andersen, for me, is as beautiful as it described in the story.
"Far out in the sea, the water is as blue as the petals of the most beautiful cornflower, and as clear as the purest glass," the fairytale begins.
Strong, ardent admiration lured me to pursue graduate studies at the University of Southern Denmark in the "kingdom of fairytales" in 2004 as soon as I graduated from a prestigious university in Beijing.
Over the next two years, I traveled to almost every major city in northern, central and southern Europe. Although each city is unique, Copenhagen—"the capital of fairytales"—remains the most beautiful city in my eyes.
My first impression of the city was its blue sky, white clouds, and the fresh air. There was no smell of smoke or exhaust fumes from automobiles in Copenhagen. Having lived in Copenhagen for a period of time, I found that the city is prosperous but not flashy, warm, and peaceful. The roofs of all the households are colorfully painted just as they are described in the fairytales, making you feel relaxed and cozy.
Apart from the fairytale-like scenery, Copenhagen is a city focused on environmental protection. What impressed me is that Copenhagen, like Beijing, boasts a great deal of bicycles.
Bicycles are the favorite choice for people in Copenhagen when it comes to transportation. The other two are public transportation and private automobiles.
Bicycles outnumber motor vehicles on the streets. With a clearly identified bicycle lane, bicycles are not disturbed by others.
Many free bicycle parking lots are available in the downtown area in front of metro stations, beside stores and on the side of the street. There are even special bicycle parking lots in front of the country's parliament building, because many members of parliament and cabinet ministers are bicycle commuters.
The government is committed to providing better conditions for people riding bikes. According to its government plan, by 2015, at least 50 percent of its citizen commuters will go to work and back home by bicycle, and 80 percent of bicycle commuters will be satisfied with traffic conditions.
It's worth mentioning that there are many free bike rental spots with a "CityBike" logo, which is very convenient for students like me. You only have to put a deposit of 20 Danish koruna in a box. When you return the bike at any rental spot, you get your money back.
The service is very popular during high tourist season in summer. Since Copenhagen is a port city with complex watercourses, it is very convenient and comfortable to travel along the ports, watercourses and waterfront parks by bicycle.
Since bicycles are so important to Copenhagen culture, the International Cycling Union calls it Bike City Copenhagen.
Thinking back, 10 years ago, bicycles were a major means of transportation in China, making China worthy of the name "the kingdom of bicycles." But now they have been gradually replaced by motor vehicles that produce carbon dioxide. In contrast, China really needs to learn from the "city of fairytales" in terms of applying transportation with low carbon dioxide emissions.
Apart from that, Copenhagen has been voted as the "the world's most livable city" for several years, and has promised to become the world's first "zero-carbon emissions city" by 2025.
Despite a great number of industrial enterprises in the Greater Copenhagen Region, the emissions are simply vapor which disperses quickly in the air.
The country's offshore sites are dotted with wind power stations, a major power source that supplies the ancient and robust city with clean electricity.
Household waste is sorted according to type, such as waste paper, glass, and aluminum cans, and is reused highly efficiently through a rigorous recycling system. It is in Copenhagen that, for the first time in my life, I realized what it means to have a healthy and environmentally-friendly life.
Inspired by what I studied in Denmark, I have devoted myself to environmental protection since receiving a master's degree in engineering in 2006. I have worked at a famous Danish wind power technology company and a clean electric power company in the Fortune 500. I'm currently working on the construction of a large-scale eco-friendly electric plant in China.
I wish for a better environment--cleaner sky, clearer water, and a better life in every Chinese city as the cause of environmental protection gains strength.