Sustainable ways to Chinese urbanisation

Four perspectives on contemporary urbanisation in China

By scholars from the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (Beijing).

Organised by the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA).



Please register for this seminar using the form below. Seating is limited. Entrance: free.


15:30  - Introduction to the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA)
Paul Rabe

15:45 - Formal or Informal: the Sustainable Way to Chinese Urbanization

Chen Rui

16:00 - Explorer the Green and Innovation Path: Peri-urban Planning Practice in China
Wang Ning

16:15 - Another Way of Urbanization for Undeveloped Areas in China: In the View of Rural Modernization
Yu Meng

16:30 - Sustainable development  of historical landscape in Beijing Xishan area
Han Bingyue

16:45 - Questions & Answers

17:45 – Drinks at "De Brasserie" of the Faculty Club



Introduction to the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA)

Paul Rabe

The Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) is a European Union funded research project. Part of Marie Curie Actions, this International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) was awarded in 2011 and began in April 2012. It consists of 17 institutes (from the original 13) and more than 100 researchers travelling between Europe, the United States, India and China, all researching the Asian urban environment at doctoral and post-doctoral level.


Formal or Informal: the Sustainable Way to Chinese Urbanization

Chen Rui

Formal development led by the government is the most common pattern of urbanization in China. It brings rapid increase of urban population, modernized construction of urban area, with more and more globalized economy. But also it results to many social problems. We have also found informal urbanization cases such as Wenzhou in Zhejiang province that are led mainly by local private sectors, which form a specific social structure closed to the civil society. Today Chinese urbanization have encountered a big challenge in the transition of social structure, which means a difficult transformation from an incomplete or half urban society to a complete one. That's why we emphasize the urbanization of human. This presentation will attempt to find the possibility of informal urbanization spread in China, by analyze the formation mechanism including the factors of geographic environment, history, culture and institution. Through comparing the different patterns of urbanization, the trends and sustainable way of Chinese urbanization will be discussed.


Explorer the Green and Innovation Path: Peri-urban Planning Practice in China

Wang Ning

In Chinese cities blind sprawl and expansion process, the development of peri-urban is always the most dynamic, but also the most concentrated area of various contradictions. On the one hand, this area has strong development aspirations, and its construction always blindness and unsustainable. On the other hand, the ecological environment has paid a huge price, rural landscape and context are suffering sustained damage. This presentation will reflect this contradiction by two ongoing planning projects , and introduce the consistent strategy in the project: moving from simple “continuation of extensive development” or “passive protection” to “protection and development composite model”. It will analyse how to excavate the value of agriculture and landscape resources , in order to achieve a balance between conservation and development.


Another Way of Urbanization for Undeveloped Areas in China: In the View of Rural Modernization

Yu Meng

Nowadays, the government and academia are accustomed to paying close attention to the metropolis and the main urban networks, thinking that they are crucial for strengthening the national competitiveness. However, the objectives of urbanization involve not only the glory of developed areas above, but also the improvement of the undeveloped areas, especially of the countryside. In fact, rural modernization is becoming more important as the foundation of urbanization. If we talk about urbanization in the view of it, we can find the different mechanism of the spatial distribution of urban-rural population and industries as well as the bottom-up power. The suitable structure of balanced urban system in China will be discussed also. And then, a series of strategies in this regard can be proposed. Enshi (in Hubei Province, middle of China) would be used as a case study.


Sustainable development  of historical landscape in Beijing Xishan area

Han Bingyue

Beijing Xishan area is the concentrated areas of the landscape, including the Summer Palace, Yuquan Hill, Xiangshan Hill, and other famous tourist attractions. Every year it attracts  millions of tourists at domestic and foreign, scenic overwhelmed. Since 2012, Beijing Municipal Government has carried on the historical landscape planning and design work of Xishan area, including the Western Hill colour painting project, ecological river training, historical landscape reproduction,greenways planning and construction,and so on. All this work will contribute to the protection and sustainable development of the historical landscape .


Paul Rabe

Paul is a political scientist by training, specialized in urban policy and governance. He received his doctorate in policy, planning and development from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy in 2009. He has an MA in urban management from Erasmus University Rotterdam (Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, 1996) and an MA in international relations from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs (1992). Paul’s doctoral work was on land sharing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he worked from 2003 to 2007 as an advisor on land, housing and poverty reduction issues at the Municipality of Phnom Penh and the Ministry of Land Management, with various donor programs. Paul presently works as the Coordinator of the Urban Knowledge Network Asia, based at IIAS.  He is also a consultant in urban development, focused on cities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  He is based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Chen Rui

Graduated from the Peking University of China and received a doctor's degree of human geography in 2007, and has worked at the  China Academy of Urban Planning & Design(CAUPD) till now. Major in urban  and regional planning, and research directions including regional economics and planning, master planning, urban geography. He has published about 20 articles in academic journals, and a theoretical book named 'Economic Performance of Spatial Structure in Metropolitan Regions' published in Chinese Architecture Industry Press. Rui has participated in about 30 projects of urban planning in China.


Wang Ning

Wang Ning is an urban planner who works at the China academy of urban planning and design (CAUPD) from 2010 till now. He received his master's degree in Urban Planning from Xi’an university of architecture and technology. He is specialized on urban design and participated in many projects in China, for example" The comprehensive planning of Liang-jiang new district in Chongqing" and "The central area urban design in Chongqing Liang-jiang new district”. In addition, he was responsible for many projects such as “Tongchuan new district overall urban design" and " Chongqing Jiu-long peninsula urban design". Recently, he involved in multiple projects and researches about coordinated urban & rural development and peri-urban design.

Yu Meng

Yu Meng is a urban planner in China Academy of Urban Planning and Design. He graduated from Tsinghua University, getting a bachelor in architecture, and then got his Ph.D. in economic geography from Peking University. Engaging in urban planning for many years, he has concerned about many areas of urban-rural development and territorial development, including future and targeted strategies of metropolis, urban planning influenced by informal behaviour,  policies of territorial coordination etc. Currently he is undertaking the studies of mechanism, model and policies of urbanization.

Han Bingyue

Bingyue Han is a  senior landscape architect in China Academy of Urban Planning and Design. he received his Doctorate in landscape from Beijing forest University. He is specialized on landscape architecture planning and design research. His research topic  is the sustainable development of  Historical landscape.