We’re living in the most amazing time in human history with more than 7 billion completely different human beings! I always try to learn from everyone around me: from my colleagues to my competitor to the random person I bumped into in the coffee shop this morning. It is something I find increasingly valuable. For me, nothing is more inspiring than learning from people who chase their dreams.
Today I will share with you guys one of the Wellcee users who inspired me to create and look at life through the prism of the modern urban planner. Well, here we go:
K (Kiun: me): Hey Georgies! Can you tell me a little about yourself? And how would you describe yourself in three words?
K (Kiun, 我) ：嗨 楚杰士, 能向大家简单介绍一下你自己吗？如果用三个词来形容你自己，会是哪三个词？
G (Georgies 楚杰士): Hi Kiun! I’m Georgies Srour from France, 26 years old. After graduated from high school, I studied Architecture at Tsinghua University. 2 years later I went back to France and changed my major to City Planning. After, I lived in Canada for a few months. I came back to China in 2017. I started as an intern at a French company called AREP and I’ve been working there full time since the beginning of 2018. Now I’m an urban planner and a photographer!
If I have to describe myself in 3 words I'd say curious, adventurous and open-minded.
G: Hi Kiun！ 我是来自法国的Georgies Srour，今年26岁。高中毕业后我在清华大学学习建筑学。两年后我回到法国，转到城市规划专业。之后我又在加拿大生活了几个月。2017年的我回到中国，一开始在法国公司AREP实习，2018年初在那开始了全职工作。现在我是一名城市规划师，同时也是一名摄影师！
K: What is your main reason for coming to China? Have you ever dreamed about China? As you have been living in China for 4 years already, has your first impression changed a lot?
G: I’ve been learning Chinese since I was 13. I was fascinated by China and its fast urban development and always wanted to understand more. China and Chinese culture are big parts of my life, so I’m sure that I made the right decision.
Photos taken by Georgie
G:The reason why I wanted to come back to China was always the same. I wanted to gain more experience and understand the country, the society and the people better. It was my biggest dream when I was young, so I tried to find different ways to realize it. For example, in 2009, I participated in a contest on TV show Chinese Bridge with other 120 contestants and I won the first prize. It gave me a scholarship to study in China. It allowed me to study Chinese culture, but my dream was to study Architecture. So I tried to apply for Tsinghua and got in! This was my dream at that time and now I’m doing urban projects in China which is also part of it!
来中国的原因一直都没有改变。我希望获得更多经验，更好地了解这个国家、社会和生活在这里的人们。 这是我年轻时最大的梦想，所以我尝试着找到不同的方法来实现它。例如，在2009年，我和其他120名参赛者一起参加了电视节目“汉语桥”的比赛，并获得了一等奖。这次获奖给了我在中国学习的奖学金。但我只能学习与中国文化相关的科目，而我当时的梦想是学习建筑，所以我后来去了清华大学 ！ 这是我当时的梦想。
Photos taken by Georgie
G:Yes, it has changed a lot since the first time I came here. The society, the trends, and the way how people think. China is surely the fastest changing country in the world!
The view from the rooftop of Georgie’s house
K: What do you like the most about Beijing/China? What is it like to live in Beijing?
G: What I like the most about Beijing… obviously is that it’s the historical center! It is a human scale and is really quiet. Different neighbourhoods have completely different atmosphere. I’m living in the Dongcheng district where you have a lot of bars, restaurants, venues etc. But i’m working in the Xicheng district which is next to the Xihai Lake where it’s more residential. Life in Beijing is very nice especially when the air is clean and you don’t have to do a lot of commuting.
Photos taken by Georgie
My favourite place here is Beihai Park! It’s amazing to have such a big natural space in the center of the city that was part of the imperial city and now is open to the public.
K: You mentioned in the Wellcee post that you are an urban planner. It seems like a really interesting job that helps us to make our life easier and more comfortable! Can you please tell us more about your work in China?
G: I can describe my job as an urban planner in China in one word: challenging. Urban planning and cities designing integrate different professions. We work with landscape designers, architects, engineers, etc. Why it is challenging in China? Because of the size of the projects we work on. For example, we won a project to plan a new city called Changjiang in Wuhan. It’s a completely new city with 50 square kilometers – almost half of the entire Paris! It is also because of the regulations in China. Sometimes it’s really hard to propose something creative.
G：如果用一个词来描述我作为中国城市规划师的工作就是：挑战性。城市规划和城市设计融合了不同的职业。我们与景观设计师，建筑师，工程师等合作。为什么这份工作在中国极具挑战性？一是由于我们的项目规模。例如我们赢得了一个在武汉长江新城的规划项目。这是一个50平方公里的全新城市 - 几乎是整个巴黎的一半大小！第二是因为一些政府的地方规定，有时提出创意的方案会有很多限制。
Photos taken by Georgie
K: I just saw some pictures in your house, did you take these pictures? They are amazing!
G: Yes, thank you! Well, I did two exhibitions - the first one was last year at a friend’s workspace called Dimo where they teach music but they also do some events. The theme of the exhibition was Guess the City and people needed to guess which city the pictures were taken. It was hard for some pictures. The idea came through the fact that I think a lot of cities are starting to look more and more alike, it’s getting harder for people to understand where they are. It is like a reflection about the cities’ identities, especially as an urban planner.
是的，谢谢！我之前做过两次展览 - 第一次是在去年在朋友的工作室Dimo，展览的主题是猜城市，人们需要根据照片猜测拍摄城市。有一些照片很难猜。灵感来自于我认为很多城市开始变得越来越相似，人们变得越来越难了解他们所在之处。这就像是对城市身份的反思，特别是作为城市规划师。
《Guess the City》
In 2018 my company organized an exhibition called in French La Ville Mise En Scene about different visions of the city. A few artists, architects, urban planners were doing an exhibition together.
2018年，我的公司组织了一场名为La Ville Mise En Scene的展览，展示了城市的不同景观。一些艺术家，建筑师和城市规划师一起做了这次展览。
Georgie’s pictures on the exhibition «La Ville Mise En Scene»
Georgie在展览La Ville Mise En Scene中的照片
K: Woow! I’m really intrigued and I love them! They definitely have a deep meaning. Where can I also find your works?
K：哇！ 我超喜欢！ 它们肯定有深刻的含义。在哪里可以看到你更多作品？
G: I have my own website where I’m sharing my works and I’m writing my blog. I created this website because I was inspired by my travels through Asia, America, Europe and the Middle East and my photos for a subject urban spaces. Through my work I try to provide cities a new identity, by showing an alternative way to perceive and experience the city through the colors, framing, contrasts and scales.
G：可以在我的网站 https://www.citiesoflights.com/spring-series 上看到我的作品，同时我正在写博客。我创建这个网站的灵感来自我在亚洲、美洲、欧洲和中东的旅行的时候我的关于城市空间的照片。通过我的工作，我尝试为城市提供一种新的身份。通过展示一种颜色，框架，对比和尺度提供另一种方式来感知和体验城市。
K: It’s very impressive! Alright, let’s talk a little bit about your feelings! When you are spending time in China, is there anything you miss about France?
G: Hmm… only my family and friends!
K: You have a lovely house and especially the rooftop! How long have you been living here? And how did you find this place?
你有一个很棒的房子，特别是屋顶！ 你在这里住多久了？ 你是怎么找到这个地方的？
G: I found my place on Wellcee before I came to Beijing. My friend told me about Wellcee when I was living in France. It was really helpful to rent an apartment before I came to China. I have been living here for a few months, since January. I found a lot of apartments on Wellcee website but I chose this one because of its rooftop!
The view from the rooftop
K: What about your flatmates? How are you spending time together? Where are they from?
你的室友怎么样？ 你们平时都一起做些什么？ 他们都来自哪里？
G:We are four international flat mates from France, Belgium and China. We have a good and warm relationship. Sometimes we organize terrace party and bbq and nothing beats watching sunset with your friends! It’s really important to have someone to talk about everything and share with each other some of the experiences!
K: What is the most exciting or craziest thing you did before?
G: I guess… I’m being more spontaneous in France. I can buy a one-way ticket and disappear for a few days, thereby I can rest and relax.
Georgie with friends :)
K: What is your impression of Wellcee, do you have some suggestions or ideas for us?
G: I think it’s a great website to find an apartment and to find a good flat mate. It’s very efficient! I guess it’s already famous in Beijing and every foreigner already knows about it. I found it more useful compare to Chinese apps because you can talk with the person/landlord directly, so you feel more comfortable and safe, while Chinese rental apps don’t care about your personality and with whom you’ll share the house.
Georgie and me
Beijing, with its vibrant culture, has also made us feel so small, insignificant, we submit to the easier path that was laid out by our society. Slowly we choose to forget what we were truly passionate about, encountering those who refuse to comply can strike as a beautiful surprise.
Georgie was one of those surprises for me, I felt so alive talking to him, He started the lonely journey to live the authentic self, gave up generous financial support and started studying urban planning from scratch. Circled the earth half way and finally returned to China where it all began, relentlessly chasing his dream with solitude that most people are too afraid to endure.
采访结束后，我独自漫步在胡同深秋的街道.. 我也希望自己每天都能做出一点点改变，去唤醒那个内心深处的自己. 让更多鼓舞人心的人环绕自己，同时也去成为别人的灵感来源。
After interviewing Georgie, I took a walk on the late autumn alley, I was reminded again how I have to ignore the voices telling me to stop being an inspiration. On the lonely journey to hold onto a sincere, ambitious view of what life must and could be, I find myself surprisingly in great company.
Bien Merci Georgies
Ps: After Beijing and Shanghai, Wellcee is now in Shenzhen! We look forward to hearing more stories from our friends in Shenzhen.
Special thanks for Yanna's concern and support.
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