Momentum is gathering pace for urban planning that puts both life quality and environmental concerns at its core. A forthcoming exhibition will showcase the works of Tongji University students at the cutting edge of this exciting field, writes Fei Lai.
The Co-Evolution Workshop for Tongji University's urban planning undergraduate and postgraduate students concluded recently. Five projects tackling the city's problems were completed during the 10-day workshop.
"The activities aimed at creating proposals for sustainable urban welfare in Shanghai based on the Danish principles of participatory, innovative and holistic design and planning," said Henrik Valeur, creative director of UiD Shanghai, an award-winning urban consultancy that hosted the workshop.
The students' work will be part of the Co-Evolution and the Welfare City exhibition at Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center from September 13 to October 12.
Issues such as heritage preservation, transport, energy usage reduction and water usage reduction were included in their planning, which basically focused on improving the living environment, pollution reduction and ultimately life quality. Some even dealt with global challenges such as climate change and resources consumption.
It is not easy to find a way for millions of cars to become energy-saving, therefore, a Green Network project was designed to make it possible for bicycles to run on the city's elevated road.
The Doors and Walls project focused on public space, using more interesting technology and nature itself to reduce energy dependency.
"One of the biggest differences between Shanghai and Beijing is their water resources. However, people's close relationship with water is becoming more vague," said Professor Pan Haixiao when commenting on the water project.
Feel Good was another creative design for developing apartment forms.
"In contrast with rising house prices, living space is still limited and cannot be changed," said Xue Song, a team member of this project. "To make living spaces more comfortable, we design houses whose forms can be changed according to the owner's demand."
The transformation of old factories into exhibition halls is a hot issue for World Expo 2010 Shanghai.
One project called Using Industrial Heritage and had a broad range of functions with proposals for old factories to be turned into parks, bars, offices and sports centers.
"We shouldn't just turn old factories into museums," Professor Pan said.
"Sustainable development is a concept that everyone should be familiar with. I believe that the 10-day workshop has made the students more aware of what a greener city should be like."
Yang Yang, a postgraduate student, said that she hoped that people's consciousness can be raised by the student's designs and some work can be carried out in reality in the future.