Special Conference on

2021-03-19 | UPSC

China Urban Planning Academic Season is an online academic brand organized by the Urban Planning Society of China (UPSC) from September 16 to 26, 2020. In this year, the Academic Season triggered a boom in online academic exchanges in China through 86 online academic activities.


On the morning of September 17, 2020, the conference of "Urban Space Governance of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA for short)" was successfully held under the guidance of UPSC and sponsored by the School of Architecture of South China University of Technology. This article includes reports from six experts.

Ⅰ. Comparative Analysis of Spatial Boundary Control Tools in Urban Growth Management

Zhou Jianyun

Director of China Urban Planning Society

Director and Professor, Department of urban planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology

Professor Zhou Jianyun pointed out that the urban growth boundary was a crucial tool on the new land and space planning. From the perspective of policy analysis framework, urban growth boundary was a macro policy tool to manage urban spatial growth and had been proved to be an effective regulatory tool. Professor Zhou quoted Mr. Liang's point of view and emphasized that the policy interpretation of urban growth boundary included three core elements:

- The ideal state expected to be achieved;

- A series of decisions and actions with clear purpose;

- Discernible causal relationship between the ideal state expected to be achieved and the decision/ action taken.

It is critical to analyze the boundary of urban development from the following seven aspects:1) the purpose of setting up policy tools, 2) the policy makers, 3) policy executors, 4) the content of policy tools, 5) the effect of policy implementation, 6) the method of case comparison, and 7) the policy tools for analyzing "urban development boundary". Professor Zhou reviewed the space control tools used in four cases: London Green Belt, Lexington Urban Service Boundary, Portland Urban Growth Boundary and China Planning Area.

Professor Zhou pointed out that green belt, urban service boundary and urban growth boundary (UGB) were three main strategies to control urban growth. With regard to the Metropolitan Green Belt of London, (break)there was evidence that it had a significant impact on the speed of construction and development. The pace of construction in the green belt was much lower than in urban areas, and a third lower than in the control areas of the study.

Lexington, Kentucky, achieved its planning goals using city service boundaries. Most of the development was limited within this boundary, while the development outside the boundary was strictly restricted. In this way, the area's famous blue grass and horse farms were protected.

In the United States, Portland, Oregon, adopted UGB. Its main contents included growth boundary, urban reserve, rural reserve and so on, in order to meet the growth demand of the city in various periods. There were three parallel strategies in Portland's urban growth boundary management: stage development of land within boundaries, constrained development of land outside the boundary, and flexible adjustment of growth boundary.

In China, urban planning area referred to the areas near urban districts, suburbs and urban administrative areas that needed to be controlled by planning due to urban construction and development. Its scope was delineated by the municipal government in the city comprehensive planning. Due to the effectiveness of planning area management, a relatively complete planning permission system had been established in the planning area (including villages)。 And the policy objectives of development control could be effectively implemented. However, this approach also had shortcomings, including the failure to effectively restrict the scale, layout and form of construction land.

Professor Zhou finally discussed four core issues:

First was about the types of goals and management boundaries. It was critical to understand that different purposes correspond to different boundary types.

Second was the issue of permanence and dynamics of the boundary. The stability of the boundary was related to the planning objective and corresponds to the boundary type. Control boundaries and protection boundaries were permanent, while the boundaries of policy measures such as guiding development, encouraging development, and restricting development should be dynamic.

Third, it was necessary to strictly distinguish between urban growth management and urban development management. Urban growth management was a macro-management tool, while urban development management was a micro-policy tool. Similarly, planning area was the spatial scope of urban growth boundary policy, while construction land was that of urban development control policy. They should cooperate with each other and should not be confused or replaced.

Fourth, the implementation and supervision of policies. The development of a city was irreversible, so supervision and implementation should not change with goal. Therefore, it was necessary to pay attention to the allocation of resources and the guidance of actions, rather than the resources themselves and the results of actions.

Ⅱ. Vision of Community Governance --Integrated Community

Li Xun

Dean of China Institute of Regional Coordinated Development and Rural Construction, Sun Yat-sen University

Professor Li Xun pointed out that a community was a governance space, and its form and method could be different from the traditional concept of a community. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the Chicago School first began to discuss socio-ecological analysis, its main viewpoints included:

1) The ecological principles (competition, elimination, succession and advantage) should be used to explain the construction and reconstruction of urban communities; 2) The spatial relations of social groups and organizations reflected their social relations and expressed the changes in spatial relations through invasion, competition, isolation and succession, which led to the changes in population and community patterns; 3) In contrast to traditional ecology, the outcome of competition was determined not only by the strength of the participants, but also by the rules (institutions) of competition. Furthermore, social relations were also influenced by institutional rules.

In the middle and late 20th century, the Western Marxist school proposed that the community was a production space, which reflected the capitalist consumption and class relations. As a result, the whole production mode and social structure became more homogeneous, resulting in the "cookie-cutter commercial housing" landscape. In the process of rapid urbanization, the "acquaintance society" collapsed while the society tended to atomize. In the process of the evolution from planned economy to market economy, it was necessary to pursue the mutual embedding of economic and social relations in order to promote the integrated development of economy and society. With the separation of urban land ownership and right to use, as well as the continuous improvement of the marketization of community public goods supply, residents' real right consciousness was rising gradually. However, the main body of property rights tended to be pluralistic and the space of property rights was broken, which further led to the increase of transaction costs. When faced with demolition and reconstruction, the process of recognition and exchange of rights and responsibilities among the government, developers and residents on real estate property rights became particularly complicated. Furthermore, after the reform of "unit system", some old communities lacked powerful management bodies. After the transformation of the “unit system” and the de-welfare of the old community, residents needed a long-term ideological change to adapt to the market and diversified supply.

Professor Li proposed that we should move from "planning and construction" to "planning and society". In view of the various problems existing in the current community governance, it was necessary to transform from the previous urban/rural community planning and construction to spatial governance oriented by problems. It meant not only paying attention to space construction, but also the relationship between space and society. Communities should not be commoditized blindly, and the role of people must be emphasized to form an effective governance space-an integrated community. Professor Li cited the concept of integrated community proposed by Mr. Wu Liangyong in 2011. He proposed that an integrated community was the concept of a true social community. This emphasized the need to take the sense of identity and belonging as the bond to form the social foundation to solve the problem of atomization. An integrated community required the integration of physical and social space. In the past 30 years, urban and rural community planning paid more attention to the physical space construction of the community, while the integrated community would combine the governance system in community planning, construction, management and people's enjoyment. An integrated community required that the relationship between the government, the market, and residents be handled well. It was challenging to overcome the current social problems only relying on social individuals. And the construction of integrated communities could help further straighten out the relationship among country, enterprises and residents, thus becoming the key to solving social problems.

Professor Li pointed out that in order to give full play to the function of an integrated community and to effectively govern the space, it was necessary to:

1. Take residents as the main body, give full play to the role of residents in community planning and construction;

2. Distinguish between old communities and newly built residential communities, adhere to the principle of adapting measures to local conditions, and solve the problem of supporting facilities indeed;

3. Implement space construction standards based on local conditions;

4. Shape a sense of community identity and belonging;

5. Improve the mechanism of joint construction, co-governance and sharing.

Ⅲ. Community Renewal: Co-governance and Sharing-Planning and Practice of Micro-reconstruction of Old Urban Community in Guangzhou

Luo Jianyun

President of Guangzhou Urban Renewal Planning Research Institute

According to Luo Jianyun, Guangzhou was the first city to systematically renovate old residential areas in the government level. His report combined some of his own practice and thinking, as well as some of the policy research jointly completed with the government departments.

1. The inevitability of Guangzhou community renovation

The entire old city of Guangzhou had been undergoing renovation since the Republic of China. Especially since the reform and opening up, the entire old city had entered a rapid stage of renovation. After many rounds of exploration, in 2016, along with the "three old" renovation work started in 2009, Guangzhou Municipal People's Government issued the Guangzhou Urban Renewal Measures and three supporting documents. Among them, the supporting document related to the renewal of communities and towns was the Implementation Measures for the Renewal of Old Cities of Guangzhou (hereinafter referred to as the Measures for the Renewal of Old Cities), which started a new round of urban renewal.

In the Measures for the Renewal of Old Cities, four aspects of work were proposed for the renewal of old cities: 1) protecting historical relics and historic sites; 2) improving the living environment; 3) perfecting public service facilities; and 4) optimizing the layout of urban functions. Meanwhile, the Measures for the Renewal of Old Cities first proposed the concept of "micro-renovation". Aiming at the reconstruction of large demolition and construction in old towns in the past, it proposed to preserve the architectural style, revitalize the use, replace the function, and improve the living environment.

2. Guangzhou's characteristic renovation experience

In 2016, Guangzhou took the lead to carry out the micro-renovation of old communities and becameChina's first batch of pilot cities for the renovation of old communities in 2017. A total of 431 old communities had been renovated, benefiting 1.5 million residents, and gradually forming a renewal experience with Guangzhou characteristics.

Distribution Map of Renovated Old Communities

Source: Guangzhou Institute of Urban Renewal Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology, Research Group of Special Planning for Guangzhou Old City Renewal

Compared with other provinces and regions, the generation of old communities in Guangzhou had a quite different characteristic.  With the reform and opening up and rapid economic growth, the registered population of Guangzhou increased sharply to 3.57 million in 2000, with a permanent resident population of 6 million. That was far beyond the 2.6 million people targeted in the master plan. To increase housing, the government encouraged units and individuals to renovate old buildings or rebuild them on site with funds raised by themselves. This led to the rapid development of real estate companies at that time and caused many urban problems.

Distribution of buildings in each era in the central city

Source: Guangzhou Institute of Urban Renewal Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology, Research Group of Special Planning for Guangzhou Old City Renewal

Before 2000, there were 779 old residential communities built in Guangzhou. The ages and functions of these communities were relatively mixed, and the stock of old residential areas accounted for a remarkably high proportion of the entire old city. The total scale of the old city was 113km2, among which the scale of the old residential land was 66.87km2, the scale of the old commercial office land was 17.28km2, and the scale of the old public service facilities land was 40.06km2.  The total construction of the stock land was 168 million m2, and the above three types of buildings were 107 million m2, 28.38 million m2, and 32.02 million m2 respectively. The core problems of the old communities were poor space quality, large aging population, lack of supporting facilities, and loss of cultural value.

The goal of old city renewal was to rejuvenate the old city, which was to create high-quality and lasting vitality of urban life. Only in this way could the elite talents and enterprises that drove urban development be attracted back to the city center. The core strategy in this process was to improve core competitiveness by enhancing the value of the city. The key was to superimpose the functions of life, work, shopping, learning, and leisure in the old city, so that the value of space resources in the old city could bring high returns. The humanization of urban space determined the quality of the city, thus affecting the choice of market-oriented behavior in the old city. Meanwhile, this was what the public needed in the old city, and the core work was to jointly create a happy community through community renewal. That was to rely on public participation to respond to the people's livelihood needs and build a "city of human" at the micro level of space. Furthermore, it was necessary to enable the masses to enter the urban renewal work and enable them to strengthen their understanding of urban renewal work. In this way, the society's awareness of urban renewal could be promoted and the public foundation for urban renewal could be established.

3. The implementation strategy and thinking of Guangzhou community renewal

The goal of community renewal had gradually changed from "clean, safe, neat and orderly" to "beautiful, dynamic and safe", that is, from focusing on landscape and style to stressing on people's feelings.

There were four entry points for community updates:

1) Improve physical space

2) Stimulate the vitality

3) Conserve urban culture

4) Enhance the public service system

From a macro perspective, community renewal included two dimensions: space renovation and social governance. These two aspects jointly promoted the transformation from spatial governance to social governance.

Ⅳ. Exploration of Multi-dimensional Urban Land Use Classification

Qi Dongjin

Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology

Qi Dongjin pointed out that in the process of urban renewal and transformation, in addition to the transformation and improvement of the physical environment, the use of buildings and land were also facing transformation and activation. In the context of the new land and space planning, the unified exercise of land and space use control had also become the core management responsibility in the natural resource system. There were two concepts in land classification research that needed to be distinguished and analyzed: 1. The information contained in the classification; 2. The structure of the classification. The land classification standards in 1990 and 2011 had changed greatly in terms of classification, but the classification structure was still a tree-like one. This hierarchical structure was easy to understand and could be represented graphically, but there were ambiguities. For example, some land could be classified into more than one category. In addition, the hierarchical structure also had limitations. Land contains complex attributed. When there were not enough levels of division, some information would be lost when describing the characteristics of a piece of land. In contrast to the hierarchical structure, there was another classification structure: multidimensional structure. This was a parallel division according to different dimensions of land use. Each additional dimension could add a piece of information to describe this piece of land. And this structure could be expanded according to the needs of research or planning. In addition, it also had stronger compatibility and adaptability. It could select the required dimensions and combinations according to the needs of the planning work, so as to adapt to different situations. At present, the United States, Spain, New Zealand etc. had adopted multi-dimensional classification structure of land use classification standards.

Detailed Regulatory Planning of the Functional Core of the Capital (Block level)

Qi believed that the proposal of the multi-dimensional land use classification system was to establish a relatively scientific and applicable classification system:

1) Use a multi-dimensional and open system to adapt to different purposes;

2) Improve the specific system of use control at different stages of planning;

3) Adapt to the requirements of sustainable development.

Ⅴ. The Research Progress of Environmental Justice and Its Empirical Research in Guangzhou

shen jing

Associate Professor, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University

Shen Jing pointed out that the concept of environmental justice originated in the United States in the 1970s. Its meaning was: all social strata should bear the same environmental risks, which was a reflection of social justice on the environmental impact. Specifically, it included distribution justice, cognitive justice and procedural justice.

Shen emphasized that the current foreign research on environmental justice mainly focused on three aspects: 1) The study of spatial distribution justice. 2) Research on the causes and effects of environmental injustice. 3) Research on the realization of environmental justice. At present, there was little research on environmental justice in China. To sum up, environmental justice was a theoretical tool for solving environmental, social and population problems. In the Context of China, the research on the causes of the spatial distribution of environmental justice was helpful to find out the root causes of environment-dominated social problems and provide support for relevant policies.

Shen used Guangzhou as an example to analyze environmental injustice. The pollution-intensive industries in Guangzhou were concentrated on the fringe of the central city in the early days, and then gradually developed to the periphery of the city. Meanwhile, the pollution density index of the central city continued to decrease. Through the analysis of population data, it was found that around 2000, environmental injustice began to appear gradually.

Analysis on the Change of Pollution Density Index in Guangzhou

Taking Guangzhou Development Zone as an example, Shen further analyzed the formation mechanism of environmental justice. In the process of rapid urban expansion, middle-class residential communities were gradually facing pollution problems. The middle class with a higher level of education became the cognitive subject of environmental justice due to strong environmental awareness.

Finally, Shen argued that environmental justice should be the goal of urban space governance. The participation of vulnerable groups in decision-making and the proportion of environmental pollutants in the region of vulnerable groups should be included in the governance. Hence, we should respond to the demands of different people for the environment and meet the environmental challenges with a positive attitude.

Ⅵ. From "Pearl River Delta" to "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area"

Wang Shifu

Director of UPSC

Deputy Dean of School of Architecture, South China University of Technology

Professor Wang Shifu explained the themes From "Pearl River Delta" to "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" from the following three aspects.

1.Review: The development of urban-water relations in the "Pearl River Delta"

The Pearl River Delta was prospered by water. However, it was actually one of the areas with the most serious water disasters. As the "Pearl River Delta" expanded its construction land, the water surface rate was also decreasing year by year. The city-water relationship of the "Pearl River Delta" included the relationship between the delta and the sea, the city and the river, as well as the city and the lake. Many previous plans had changed the urban-water relationship, but they might not fully consider the impact of changes in the urban-water relationship on the ecological environment.

the evolution of city-water relations in the Pearl River Delta

2. Thinking: "City-Water Coupling" Planning and Design Method

The attributes of the water environment were related to space. To establish the relationship between urban and water coupling, we had to first clarify the spatial coupling between the built environment and the water environment.

The preliminary method included two aspects: one was the spatial impact assessment of water planning, including water resources, water security, water environment, and water climate planning; the other was the water technology assessment of spatial planning. Meanwhile, a technical discipline needed to be established to increase planning analysis of water-related environmental topics.

3.Foresight: High-quality Development of "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area"

The "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" had the same economic geographic area as the "Greater Pearl River Delta" as well as natural geographic space. Compared with the "Pearl River Delta", the concept of "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" emphasized regional integrity, integration and nationality, and could highlight its function and position in the country and the global economic chain from a macro perspective. "Cantonese culture" was the natural glue among them; the multi-center international connection was the most significant feature; and its institutional potential was the unique advantage.

Pearl River Delta Green Road spatial characteristic pattern map

Source: Guangdong Ten Thousand Miles Green Road Master Plan (2020-2035) (Draft)

The original text of the report is in Chinese. According to the contents of the report, it is sorted out and posted on the official website of UPSC. All figures come from the screen capture of the online activities. Some of the contents have been adjusted in translation.