On June 27-29, 2018, the China-UK Urban Regeneration and Sustainable Communities Leadership Workshop was successfully held at the Academic Exchange Center of Xi'an Jiaotong University. The workshop was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the British Council (BC). Du Jinfeng, Distinguished Researcher of the School of Public Policy and Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, and Professor Steffen Lehmann of the University of Portsmouth in UK, jointly chaired the workshop.
Ms. Kiki Liang, head of the British Newton Fund in China and 18 scholars from 12 departments of London municipal government and 11 universities in the UK participated in the workshop. These universities include the University of Portsmouth, University of Leeds, University of Reading, University of Salford, University of East London, Brighton University, University of the West of England, University of Edinburgh, University of Swansea, Southampton Solent University, Newcastle University and Loughborough University. More than 60 Chinese experts and scholars presented in this workshop are respectively from Xi'an Jiaotong University, Peking University, Tongji University, Renmin University of China, Northwest A&F University, Capital University of Economics and Business, Zhejiang Gongshang University, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Beijing Normal University, China Macroeconomic Research Institute of China National Development and Reform Commission, Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy, Shaanxi Provincial Administrative College and other relevant government departments of Xi'an. Forty experts from China and the UK made reports on topics about urban regeneration issues such as “inclusive growth of urban regeneration, resource efficiency and urban resilience integration strategy”.
Wang Xijing, deputy secretary general of Xi'an municipal government, Jia Yihua, division chief of the Social Science Division of XJTU and Du Haifeng, executive dean of the School of Public Policy and Administration of XJTU presented the Workshopand delivered speeches. Professor Xiang Weining from Tongji University and University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the distinguished professor of the National “Thousand Talents Plan”, Professor Feng Changchun from Peking University, the deputy secretary general of Xi'an municipal government Mr. Wang Xijing, and ProfessorSteffen Lehmannfromthe University of Portsmouth respectively made a keynote report and topic discussions.
The title of Professor Steffen Lehmann’s report wasRegenerating our Cities, in which the development and trend of urban regeneration and the strategies of urban regeneration for a more resource-efficient city with high resilience and habitability were introduced.
As the workshop instructor, Professor Xiang Weining made a report under the theme of “Why should we care about the knowledge implementation and impact research in urban regeneration practice? And how?” Taking the successful and failed scientific research applications of urban constructions in Woodlands, Texas, and Staten Island, New York of America for examples, Professor Xiang raised three questions about the implementation and impact of knowledge: Why is the implementation and impact of knowledge different from other topics? Why do scholars have less research on the implementation of research results? Why do scholars just simply put forward possible areas for their research results rather than the actual implementation situation? Furthermore, he suggested that the academic researches come from practice, and research results should in turn serve for practice and transcend practice. In the end, in order to promote more researches on the implementation and impact of knowledge of urban regeneration, Professor Xiang introduced his ideas and motivations when served as the editor-in-chief of Springer's international journalSocio-Ecological Practice Research, and its positioning and goals in light of his experience as the co-editor ofLandscape and Urban Planning.
Being the workshop instructor, Professor Feng Changchun delivered his report entitlingThe Model and Strategy of Old Cities’ Regeneration. By aking Tongzhou District of Beijing as an example, Professor Feng evaluated the land use potential of industrial, residential and commercial land in the old city of Tongzhou District from the perspective of land use coordination degree and utilization of reserved construction land. By identifying the scope of regeneration and transformation, and summarizing the urban regeneration and transformation model and timing, he provided policy recommendations for the regeneration of the old city.
Under the theme of “Urban Regeneration and Transition in Xi'an”, the deputy secretary general Mr. Wang Xijing first reviewed the history of Xi'an urban construction and the planning and development of modern city. Then he introduced the urban regeneration experience and development in Xi’an such as the transformation of shantytowns, urban villages, industrial plant areas, and the areas with historical and cultural heritage for preservation. He pointed out the problems and challenges faced by Xi'an urban regeneration and transformation, and introduced the next policy and plan.
Next, more than 40 experts and scholars from both China and the UK focused on six topics, including resilience strategies and economics, systematic thinking and cities with efficient resource recycling, natural solutions and healthy cities, social sustainability and inclusive public space, brownfield development and policy, and large-scale urban development and infrastructure under the Belt and Road Initiatives, and conducted academic reports and exchanges. They explored new theories, new methods and strategies for urban regeneration and transformation, and integrated strategies on inclusive growth, resource utilization efficiency, and urban resilience at the demand and hot issues of urban regeneration and transformation both in China and in the UK.
After the academic exchanges, the British and Chinese participants visted the West Hejia village for investigation, studying the experience of urban regeneration and transformation in Xi'an. Afterwards, they went to the Xi'an City Planning Exhibition Hall for an overall understanding of the urban planning and construction of Xi'an, and have acquired more perceptual knowledge on the urban planning and construction and the experience of urban regeneration in Xi'an.
The success of this workshop will promote the exchange of urban regeneration research and practical experience between China and the UK, broaden the horizons of Chinese scholars, especially young scholars, promote the research and practice of urban regeneration in China, foster and deepen academic cooperation and exchanges between local governments in China and the UK. The workshop also further strengthened the cooperation between Xi'an Jiaotong University and other universities like the Portsmouth University, and expanded the academic cooperation between the Chinese and British urban regeneration research.