Landscape–oriented new town development in China

prospects and implications for Western design firms

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Afhandling / RapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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Resumé

Serious environmental degradation has followed China’s rapid urban growth. In the wake of unprecedented urbanization, modernization and economic development, new models to expand cities in more sustainable ways are actively sought. This study addresses the question of how Western design firms can contribute to raising the level of environmental sustainability in the development of new towns in China. The main research question explores whether landscape-oriented urbanism—a mode of practice that allows landscape to give direction to urban development—can provide tools for Western design firms to approach environmental sustainability in this setting. Hence, the study aims to shed light on the prospects for landscape-oriented development of new towns in China and the subsequent practical implications for Western design firms. The study introduces site-reading, inspired by site theories and theory of travelling ideas, as the investigatory tool to explore landscape-oriented urbanism in concrete cases, following the lead of the practitioners—the site-readers. Through a qualitative case study of two conceptual plans for urban expansion in the Chinese cities of Wuxi and Tangshan, the study explores how the Western design firms read their sites and how the Chinese actors involved respond.

The study shows that Western ideas about landscape-oriented urbanism are not directly transferrable to the setting of new town developments in China. As a more pragmatic middle way, the study suggests to approach landscape-oriented urbanism through ecological infrastructure (EI), informed by landscape ecology, inspired by vernacular principles and more clearly coupled to smart growth principles. To tactically operate with EI in this setting, a basic orientation framework is developed together with a set of recommendations. The findings suggest that EI can be used by the practitioners as a communication tool when advocating to decision makers for an alternative approach—the value of paying attention to landscape systems. EI might also have market potential, as part of a strategy for Western design firms to create a competitive advantage for themselves on the Chinese market as providers of ecologically-informed plans. To operate with EI, however, depends on thorough site-research, it requires a more reflective mode of practice. The findings suggest that site-reading, informed by landscape urbanism theory and theory of travelling ideas, can be an inspirational tool for the practitioners to advance such reflective practice, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability in a more fundamental sense. Although the development of new landscape-oriented towns in China depends on a major reorientation of policies and practices, China’s dynamic environment of urban planning practice presents unique conditions for the further refinement of Western landscape-oriented urbanism, not only in its practical application but also as inspiration for related theory. These prospects lie in the future.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Udgivelses stedCopenhagen
ForlagThe Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture
Antal sider224
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7830-320-2
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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Sjøstedt, V. (2013). Landscape–oriented new town development in China: prospects and implications for Western design firms. Copenhagen: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture.
Sjøstedt, Victoria. / Landscape–oriented new town development in China : prospects and implications for Western design firms. Copenhagen : The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture, 2013. 224 s.
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abstract = "Serious environmental degradation has followed China’s rapid urban growth. In the wake of unprecedented urbanization, modernization and economic development, new models to expand cities in more sustainable ways are actively sought. This study addresses the question of how Western design firms can contribute to raising the level of environmental sustainability in the development of new towns in China. The main research question explores whether landscape-oriented urbanism—a mode of practice that allows landscape to give direction to urban development—can provide tools for Western design firms to approach environmental sustainability in this setting. Hence, the study aims to shed light on the prospects for landscape-oriented development of new towns in China and the subsequent practical implications for Western design firms. The study introduces site-reading, inspired by site theories and theory of travelling ideas, as the investigatory tool to explore landscape-oriented urbanism in concrete cases, following the lead of the practitioners—the site-readers. Through a qualitative case study of two conceptual plans for urban expansion in the Chinese cities of Wuxi and Tangshan, the study explores how the Western design firms read their sites and how the Chinese actors involved respond. The study shows that Western ideas about landscape-oriented urbanism are not directly transferrable to the setting of new town developments in China. As a more pragmatic middle way, the study suggests to approach landscape-oriented urbanism through ecological infrastructure (EI), informed by landscape ecology, inspired by vernacular principles and more clearly coupled to smart growth principles. To tactically operate with EI in this setting, a basic orientation framework is developed together with a set of recommendations. The findings suggest that EI can be used by the practitioners as a communication tool when advocating to decision makers for an alternative approach—the value of paying attention to landscape systems. EI might also have market potential, as part of a strategy for Western design firms to create a competitive advantage for themselves on the Chinese market as providers of ecologically-informed plans. To operate with EI, however, depends on thorough site-research, it requires a more reflective mode of practice. The findings suggest that site-reading, informed by landscape urbanism theory and theory of travelling ideas, can be an inspirational tool for the practitioners to advance such reflective practice, thereby contributing to environmental sustainability in a more fundamental sense. Although the development of new landscape-oriented towns in China depends on a major reorientation of policies and practices, China’s dynamic environment of urban planning practice presents unique conditions for the further refinement of Western landscape-oriented urbanism, not only in its practical application but also as inspiration for related theory. These prospects lie in the future.",
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Sjøstedt, V 2013, Landscape–oriented new town development in China: prospects and implications for Western design firms. The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture, Copenhagen.

Landscape–oriented new town development in China : prospects and implications for Western design firms. / Sjøstedt, Victoria.

Copenhagen : The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture, 2013. 224 s.

Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Afhandling / RapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning

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Sjøstedt V. Landscape–oriented new town development in China: prospects and implications for Western design firms. Copenhagen: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, School of Architecture, 2013. 224 s.