Category Archives: Territorial expansion

Uxcester Garden City project

David Rudlin of URBED was the winner of the Wolfson Economics Prize 2014, announced in September 2014, with the Uxcester Garden City project:

Vision:  We illustrate how the city of Uxcester could double its size by adding three substantial urban extensions each housing around 50,000 people. These lie within a zone 10km from the city centre and are configured as triangles with only the point touching the edge of the settlement. The farmland around the city is currently not accessible to the public and of little ecological value. The concept is that for every hectare of development another will be given back to the city as accessible public space, forests, lakes country parks etc… Each of these satellite extensions would be served by a tram or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) running from the existing mainline station on disused lines and then switching to on-street running to loop through the new neighbourhoods. The housing would be developed incrementally to create space for small developers and self-builders alongside the volume housebuilders in a process that recreates the way that the great estates were built in London.   

Popularity: Extending an existing city solves some problems but creates others. The greatest of these will be the task of winning over the existing community, which is likely to be articulate and honed by years of experience resisting development. We suggest a ‘Social Contract’ that would address the concerns of this community. Rather than a future spent fighting years of ill-planned development, the Garden City would offer the prospect of a clear 40 year vision that accommodates development while minimising its impact. The satellite extensions are planned to minimise their visual impact, to create a green grid of accessible open space and to generate investment in new transport infrastructure and city centre facilities to benefit the whole of the community. The aim is to re-frame the argument by getting cities to bid to be designated as a Garden City as they currently bid for City of Culture. 

Economic Viability and Governance:  In the absence of large scale subsidy the only solution to the economics of the Garden City is what Ebenezer Howard called the ‘unearned increment’. We are proposing a deal for landowners in which they trade a small chance of securing a housing consent on their land, for a guarantee of receiving existing use value plus substantial compensation and a financial stake in the Garden City Trust. We have assumed that the land will be brought at an average cost of £350,000 per hectare, 20 times its current agricultural value but only 15% of its value as housing land. The economics of the scheme are based on these differentials. We have assumed that, by extending an existing town rather than building from scratch we can reduce the infrastructure bill from £80,000 to £60,000 per unit. Even assuming that half of the land acquired is used as open space, this still generates sufficient value to fund this level of infrastructure spending. By selling the sites to developers at a fixed price and providing the infrastructure collectively, a market incentive will be created to invest in the quality of the housing.   

The process would be managed by the Garden City Trust that would be owned jointly by the local councils, central government, the local community and land owners – and their stakes would have a tradable capital value. The Garden City Trust would be vested with the land, would commission masterplanning work and then use the equity of the land to raise a Bond to fund the initial investment in infrastructure. Development would take place on a rolling programme with the early land receipts being reinvested. The experience in Holland suggests that such a rolling programme can procure infrastructure investment three times greater that the value of the initial bond.    

We describe the seven ages of the Garden City Trust from its conception and birth through its infancy and adolescence to maturity, middle age and eventually retirement. Over time the role of the trust will evolve as it moves from the development stage to the management phase where it will be structured to enable the local community to take on the stewardship of their neighbourhoods. Rising values over the life of the project will allow initial investments to be repaid. This is not a new model, it is the modern day equivalent of the great estates like Grosvenor or The Bournville Village Trust. 

Our model addresses the weaknesses in the system that have made it so difficult to match the quality of the schemes we admire on the continent. We have debated as a team whether we are being too ambitious with the size of the settlement we are proposing. However nationally we need to increase housing production by the equivalent of one Milton Keynes every year. We therefore need bold strokes to radically increase the rate at which we are building and Uxcester provides a model to do just this. 

For more information on URBED and the submission, click here: http://www.urbed.coop/wolfson-economic-prize

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

More Posts

Beijing might push some yamen out of the city

Several newspapers have reported this week that the Chinese Government is planning to push government offices, wholesale markets, some medical resources, labour-intensive businesses, as well as big polluters out of Beijing in order to decongest the capital. Baoding city (保定市) plans to create several new districts to absorb new residents. The local government has allegedly reserved 120,000 ha. of land for the project (6% of its total area). Baoding is just a stone’s throw from Beijing (40 minutes by train), and would become a satellite city through the implementation of the plan. Speculators have already started pouring money into the real estate market.1 China would not be the first country to think up such a plan. South Korea launched a similar project in 2007, creating a new administrative district 120 kilometres out of Seoul to relocate government agencies.

Baoding, a city just outside Beijing, in Hebei province will create 34 districts to absorb branches of institutes and companies based in the overcrowded capital, authorities say.

Baoding would set aside 115,000 hectares for the project, Mayor Ma Yufeng told the Beijing Times yesterday.

Plagued by pollution, traffic jams and population pressure, Beijing is pushing labour-intensive businesses out.

Baoding, located about 150 kilometres away, and neighbouring Langfang will become satellite cities for the capital, according to directives issued by the provincial government and a Communist Party committee last week.

To read more about this article posted in the SCMP:   http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1462075/baoding-ready-beijing-overflow

  1. Baoding huoshao – 保定火烧 http://www.infzm.com/content/99539. Last accessed 4 March, 2014 []

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

More Posts

In China, ‘Once the villages are gone, the culture is gone’

Johnson, Ian. In China, ‘Once the villages are gone, the culture is gone’. The New York Times, February 1, 2014. [Retrieved February 28, 2014]. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/world/asia/once-the-villages-are-gone-the-culture-is-gone.html?_r=0

BEIJING — Once or twice a week, a dozen amateur musicians meet under a highway overpass on the outskirts of Beijing, carting with them drums, cymbals and the collective memory of their destroyed village. They set up quickly, then play music that is almost never heard anymore, not even here, where the steady drone of cars muffles the lyrics of love and betrayal, heroic deeds and kingdoms lost.

The musicians used to live in Lei Family Bridge, a village of about 300 households near the overpass. In 2009, the village was torn down to build a golf course and residents were scattered among several housing projects, some a dozen miles away.

Now, the musicians meet once a week under the bridge. But the distances mean the number of participants is dwindling. Young people, especially, do not have the time.

“I want to keep this going,” said Lei Peng, 27, who inherited leadership of the group from his grandfather. “When we play our music, I think of my grandfather. When we play, he lives.”

Across China, cultural traditions like the Lei family’s music are under threat. Rapid urbanization means village life, the bedrock of Chinese culture, is rapidly disappearing, and with it, traditions and history.

“Chinese culture has traditionally been rural-based,” says Feng Jicai, a well-known author and scholar. “Once the villages are gone, the culture is gone.”

Read more on The New York Times

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

Kashgar on the path to future

Rippa, Alessandro (2013, October 14). Kashgar on the move. The Diplomat. (Retrieved 17 October, 2013).

China’s westernmost city, Kashgar lies at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, closer to Bagdad than Beijing. For travellers and traders coming from Central Asia and Pakistan, the city offers a first glimpse of China. Yet, in most cases, Kashgar strikes them for its similarities to the countries they have just left. Coming from inner China, on the other hand, Kashgar often leaves the impression of entering another country, particularly as one walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, or watches the crowd at the dusty livestock market on a Sunday morning.

Kashgar’s links to the Central Asian world – geographic and cultural – are thus not only a feature of its much-discussed “old town,” which at any rate is being transformed in a massive process of renovation. Central Asia is also an important part of the city’s future plans for development. This future, far from the artisans and mosques of the old town, is reflected in the current construction of the new Special Economic District.

The district will represent the core of Kashgar’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ), as the city was classified in May 2010. Kashgar’s model is Shenzhen, transformed in thirty years from a small fishing village into a large city that is one of China’s wealthiest. If Shenzhen was chosen for its proximity to Hong Kong, Kashgar lies within a day’s ride of four different countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (though the border at the Wakhjir Pass is not an official border crossing point and it is not served by a road) and Pakistan.

China is not hiding these ambitious plans for its westernmost city. Quite the contrary. Between the end of June and the beginning of July, as foreign journalists in China were busy covering the most recent spate of attacks in Xinjiang, an important four-day fair in Kashgar went almost unnoticed. It was the ninth edition of the Kashgar Central & South Asia Commodity Fair, an important attraction for Central and South Asian traders. The main avenue was the impressive Kashgar International Convention and Exhibition Center, situated not far from the recently constructed Eastern Lake – a major attraction for Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, for the first time in 2013 the China Kashgar-Guangzhou Commodity Fair has been held as part of the main fair, though in a different location: the Guangzhou New City, a exposition complex in the South-Western part of town, on the Karakoram Highway, newly opened for the occasion.

Read more

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

Urban China on screen: the postsocialist cinematic city

Berra, J.1 (2013) Urban China on screen: the sixth generation and the postsocialist cinematic city. Geography Compass. 7 (8) pp.588–596. DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12061

This article will consider the relationship between the city and the cinema with regard to the films of China’s ‘Sixth Generation’, a group of filmmakers who mostly graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the late 1980s and proceeded to make films on the subject of their nation’s urban fabric. These are films which utilise city narrative to comment on social–economic change, but largely observe such conditions, rather than to take apolitical stance. To explore the urban representation of the Sixth Generation, this article will provide analysis of three works that depict life in top-tier or second-tier mainland China cities: Biandan, guniang/So Close to Paradise (1999), Suzhou he/Suzhou River (2000) and Xiari nuanyangyang/I Love Beijing (2001). The manner in which urban space is represented will be considered, alongside the social positioning of the characters, in order to address arguments made by scholars that these films focus on the plight of the individual rather than considering the wider implications of urban planning.

Read full article on Wiley online library (restricted access or purchase options)

  1. School of Liberal Arts, Nanjing University, China

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

A view of the Promenade Plantée in Paris

The Promenade plantée in postindustrial Paris

Heathcott, Joseph. (2013) The Promenade plantée : politics, planning, and urban design in postindustrial Paris. Journal of Planning Education and Research. Prepublished May, 24, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X13487927

La promenade plantée dans le 12e arrondissement de Paris, au niveau de la rue de PicpusAbstract This essay examines the Promenade Plantée in the context of the broader effort to remake Paris for a Postindustrial Age. It traces the political, social, and economic forces that shaped the Promenade’s architectonic form over time, from the production of a national rail system in the nineteenth century to the decline and dereliction of rail lines after World War II, to the reformatting of disused infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, the essay considers the mix of public and private interests that shaped the project’s design, adaptation, and use within the large-scale redevelopment of Eastern Paris.

Read full text on SAGE Journals Online (restricted access)

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

A comparative study with Swedish and China’s eco-cities

Ying, Yin and Xiao, Xingfeng. (2012) A comparative study with Swedish and China’s eco-cities : from planning to implementation, taking the Hammarby Sjöstad, Sweden and Wuxi Sino-Swedish eco-city, China, as cases. Advanced Materials Research, 524-527, pp 2741-2750.

Abstract

This paper targets to improve understanding and explain influential factors of different planning and implementing process of two eco-cities, Hammarby Sjöstad, Sweden, and Sino-Swedish Low-carbon Eco-city, China. The study is approached by examining and comparing the two eco-cities in perspectives of plans formulation, policy and regulations foundation, planning management and implementing mechanisms. Lessons from Hammarby Sjöstad are that integrative planning and management, follow-up and evaluations of implementing results, and lifestyle transitions all need to be concerned, as well as environmental technologies. In Sino-Swedish low-carbon eco-city, lack of local technologies, supporting policies and regulations, inactive cross-sector cooperation and public participation are summarized as main obstacles. To approach these, efforts are made on formulating local regulations, government documents, and coordinating cross-sector cooperation, promoting mutual learning. Finally, concluding that, besides environmental technologies, the foundation of legislations, policies and environmental objectives, integrative approaches, public awareness are key areas need to be promoted for popularizing sustainability in China.

Article available on Scientific.Net (restricted access)

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts

Keys to the city

Storper, Michael (2013) Keys to the city : how economics, institutions, social interaction, and politics shape development. Princeton University Press. 288 p. ISBN: 9781400846269

Why do some cities grow economically while others decline? Why do some show sustained economic performance while others cycle up and down? In Keys to the City, Michael Storper, one of the world’s leading economic geographers, looks at why we should consider economic development issues within a regional context–at the level of the city-region–and why urban economies develop unequally. Storper identifies four contexts that shape urban economic development: economic, institutional, innovational, interactional, and political. The book explores how these contexts operate and how they interact, leading to developmental success in some regions and failure in others. Demonstrating that the global economy is increasingly driven by its major cities, the keys to the city are the keys to global development. In his conclusion, Storper specifies eight rules of economic development targeted at policymakers. Keys to the City explains why economists, sociologists, and political scientists should take geography seriously.

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

More Posts