Cities all over the world are simultaneously dealing with the issue of water. On the one hand cities make use of the potentiality of the water element to improve their accessibility, attractiveness and competitiveness (i.e. waterfront or seaport cities). On the other hand cities are limited in their development or even threatened by water problems. In this framework we can distinguish at least three different categories:
- Coastal cities, in particular cities in delta regions that are threatened by the rising sea level or by the tsunami;
- River bank cities that are threatened by floodings caused by excessive rainfalls or by smelting glaciers;
- Cities in so-called dry-zones whose major problem is the lack of water.
The Third IFoU Conference has been organized to analyze the problems of water regulation and water management in the framework of city planning and development in Asia and Europe. The potentiality of water in the city has been explored and new concepts for water related urban developments have been discussed. In this framework scientific results as well as design concepts and technical solutions from different regions in Asia and in Europe have been presented.
The Third IfoU Conference has been combined with the annual meeting of the scientific board of IFoU.
In the summer of 2010, in conjunction with various universities, a 3-week field workshop has been set up to research various redevelopment potentialities in the city of Dujiangyan in the Sichuan Province. Coming in 2 years after the initial disaster, an interdisciplinary group of students and researcher will apply insights gathered from the first UE analysis in order to support the ongoing redevelopment process. A ‘development from disaster’ approach is being used wherein opportunities for the short, middle and long term will be synergized.
As the Dujiangyan area is most notable for its 2000-year-old irrigation system, this Unesco World Heritage site has undergone severe ramifications. Not only are large structural consequences to be found, but also social, economical and spatial transformations are undoubtedly expected to follow. While more then 70% of the inhabitants are currently dependent on an agricultural livelihood (making up only 35% of the total area income), the available land is radically shrinking as a rapid urbanization process has commenced. New high-end tourist economies are moving to find develop opportunities as farmers desperately seek to find a place in the new urban setting. The reallocation of human settlements and land administration within the future development vision plan for the city are being challenged. Simultaneously, new materials and buildings techniques are required to sustain the impact of future hazards, and risk assessments are required to safeguard the current investments. With approximately 800 million farmers, the urbanization process of China is still heavily underway. As the shift from a rural to urban life takes place, the redevelopment of Dujiangyan and the Sichuan province are a unique opportunity to find sustainable ways to synergize social, economical and spatial forces within its geo-political framework. Both the built fabric as well as the immaterial substance of the region and its people must be acknowledged if a prosperous future is to be realized. Through a joint effort between foreign and local universities, learning experiences and insights can be shared generating strategies and visions on multiple scales of space (from local to regional to global) and time (short, middle and long term). The case study of Dujiangyan may prove to be an example for other cities as they too struggle to find optimal solutions balancing economic growth with social prosperity.
Learning from Beijing-Rediscovering Urban Design in Booming Metropolitanization
The IFoU summer school Learning from Beijing – Rediscovering Urban Design in Booming Metropolitanization will take place in July 2010 at Beijing, China. The summer school in the form of international joint design studio will be hosted and held by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) under the framework of International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU). Students and tutors with different cultural backgrounds will develop design proposals by researches together with the consultancy from professionals within two weeks in order to rediscover the role of urban design, as a planning strategy, in the metropolitan regions undergoing the high-speed urbanization, which is exemplified by Beijing.