The work of the Department of Urban Planning and Design is grounded in urban planning and design practice to encourage a reciprocity of learning between the Department and industry, local and national government and local communities.
Examples of projects undertaken include:
Living bank world cafe
This project enabled students to undertake a live participatory planning project with the local community at Living Bank, a local residential neighbourhood in Suzhou. Students, under the direction of Dr Ying Chang and Dr Raffaele Pernice, developed methods, such as model-making and a 'comment wall' that enabled children and their parents to contribute ideas on possible improvements to their local neighbourhood.
Suzhou rural tourism map
As part of Dr Yiwen Wang's research on the protection of rural heritage of low historical interest she developed a tourist map for use by groups such as the Suzhou Tourism Bureau and the general public. The map collated information about existing cultural and natural resources of rural tourism so as to identify villages of strategic importance in the wider Suzhou area, giving local village communities a tool on which to advance heritage protection and related projects.
Involvement in tourism planning projects
Also related to tourism in China, Dr Werner Breitung was involved as a planning team member in five tourism planning projects for local to national level governments in Ganzhou (Jiangxi, 2004), Kanas (Xinjiang, 2005), Hunan Province (2006), Sanshui (Guangdong, 2008), and Guangdong/Hong Kong/Macao (2011).
Memorandum of Understanding with Samsung SDS China
In 2013, the Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Samsung SDS China, which offered a platform on the two could collaborate on relevant research and practice based projects. This work was led by Dr Joon Sik Kim.
Professional development courses
In order to develop stronger relationships with practitioners and local government planning and design officials, as well as share current thinking, the Department organised its first professional development course, ‘Designing the Green City’, in June 2013. The two-day course was delivered by Professor Ian Bentley, Emeritus Professor of Urban Design and Director of the International Network for Settlement Design.
Annual international workshop
Each October, the Department runs a week-long international workshop that enables students from China and abroad to come to Suzhou to work with each other and a group of international academics. The workshop allows students and scholars to focus, in an intensive workshop setting, on a particular theme, developing planning policy and physical design proposals, using a local site as the basis for inquiry. The workshop has received endorsement from the Suzhou Tourism Bureau and sponsorship from the Suzhou Industrial Park Design and Research Institute. Government officers from the Planning Bureau and local stakeholder communities have also been involved in the workshop. This project is led by Dr Giulio Verdini and Dr Yiwen Wang.