2023 achievements of UES: advancing urban and environmental studies

26 Feb 2024

In 2023, Urban and Environmental Studies University Research Centre at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University has maintained its steadfast commitment to advancing urban and environmental studies, and let's reflect on the selected accomplishments that UES has achieved throughout the past year!

I. Project Research Category

Suzhou Low Carbon Research and Innovation Park Project

Cooperative Partners: Suzhou Changguang Enterprise Development Limited Company

UES collaborates with local enterprises, notably Suzhou Changguang, to explore the intersection of urban renewal and low-carbon objectives, and put forward integrated plan for low-carbon experience pavilion, low carbon education as well as pragmatic paths for low-carbon transition of compact industrial clusters. The diverse international research team, representing academia, businesses, and international organizations, has completed a number of interdisciplinary projects in low-carbon living and behavioural change, buildings monitoring and carbon management, and financing model for low-carbon industrial clusters. Published in a Nature sub-journal, these projects, coupled with advancements in digital platforms and business models, provide strategic and practical recommendations for low-carbon development.

UES Closing Review Meeting for Low-Carbon Research Projects


Research on Low-Carbon Transformation Path of Industrial Parks in Suzhou

(Supported by Suzhou Philosophy and Social Science Federation)

In comparison of international cases of decarbonisaion of industrial clusters, the study develops an innovative framework for industrial symbiosis and a comprehensive three-in-one transformation model. It proposals strategies and practical pathways for the effective low-carbon transformation of industrial zones in the context of industrial land revitalisation.

UES Team Conducts Research and Exchange Visit to Digital Industrial Park


Research on the Integrated Development of Health Tourism and Humanities in Kaifeng City, Henan Province

(Awarded the Third Prize in the Decision-making Research Project by the Kaifeng Municipal Government)

Cooperative Partners: Kaifeng Municipal Government, Henan Province

The UES organised a research team with professors from the Urban Planning and Design Department at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and local experts in Henan Province. With the support of the Kaifeng Municipal Government Research Center, in-depth field studies were conducted to exchange and identify the key challenges and pain points. In light with international experience, the team proposed a development direction and pathway for Kaifeng, accompanied by decision-making recommendations to strategically position the city as a nationally renowned tourism and health and wellness destination.

UES Research Team and Government Meeting, On-site Investigation in Kaifeng, Henan Province


Water Science Research Project

Cooperative Partners: Wujiang District Water Affairs Bureau

Under the 5-year strategic cooperation framework between Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the Wujiang District Government, two annual research projects centered on smart water management and agricultural pollution control have been successfully concluded. The project garnered acclaim for their outstanding solutions from the Jiangsu Artificial Intelligence Society. Collaboratively submitted with the Wujiang Water Affairs Bureau, the initiatives further secured the 2023 vertical project from the Suzhou Municipal Water Affairs Bureau, noting their impact and relevance in addressing water management challenges.

UES Team at the Project Closing Review Meeting

UES Research Team Utilizes Drones to Collect and Process Data

(Image Source: Smart Water Management Project Research Team)

II. Consultation and Advisory Category

Study on the Development Model, Cooperation Mechanism, and Policy Recommendations for the Changsha Lin'gang Industrial Development Zone in Hunan Province

Cooperative Partners: SCP Planning Consultants Limited;Xiangyin County Government, Yueyang City, Hunan Province

Based on the accumulated research foundation in the field of enclave cooperation, UES collaborated with SCP to conduct study in Changsha Lingang Development Zone. Through multiple on-site meetings and field visits in Hunan Province, Changsha City, Xiangjiang National New Area, county government, and state-owned enterprises, suggestions were proposed for innovating the development model, cooperation mechanism, and supporting policies of this enclave project.

UES Research Team at Government Meetings and On-site Investigations

III. Output Publication

Collaborative Organization of Journal Special Issue

UES has orchestrated a collaboration involving scholars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and Nanjing University to co-host a special issue for the international journal "Land." The focal theme is "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Urban Planning, Design, and Management." Published by MDPI, the journal is indexed in databases such as Scopus and SSCI, boasting an impact factor of 3.9. Seven international team articles have already been successfully published with open access.

Submission Webpage for Special Issue in Journal Land


Partial List of Core Journal Paper and Book Manuscripts Published by Interdisciplinary Teams

  • Assessing Environmental Attitudes under China’s Accelerating Ecological Civilization: A Case of the Urban Green Infrastructure Project in Zhangjiagang Bay

Published Journal: Journal of Urban Planning and Development (Impact Factor 2.5, Indexed in SCIE, SSCI Q3, ASCE Q2 and Scopus SJR Q1)

Article Link: https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/JUPDDM.UPENG-4277

  • “UN SDG Good Practice” in China: Ecological Restoration of the Zhangjiagang Bay

Publisher: Springer

Implications of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Implementation: A Regional Perspective" (IUNSDGRP) is the world's largest series of SDGs practice books (peer-reviewed). This monumental work, divided into four volumes, has witnessed the publication of two volumes in 2023. UES's impactful submission on the Zhangjiagang Bay Ecological Restoration Project has been prominently featured in Sustainable Development Goals in the Asia-Pacific Region" and published online. The comprehensive book is slated for formal publication in August 2024. Book Link: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-030-91262-8_103-1#citeas

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The two volumes published in the series Implications of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Implementation: A Regional Perspective

  • Reducing Carbon Emissions through Green Renewal: Insights from Residential Energy Consumption in Chinese Urban Inventory Districts from an Evidence-based Decision-making Perspective

Published Journal: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, (Nature Sub-journal).

Article Link:https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-023-02417-z

  • Fusion and Change: Exploring the Evolutionary Model of Learning Spaces in Chinese Universities - A Case Study of Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

Published Journal: Architectural Journal (Core Journal in Chinese at Peking University, Source Journal in CSSCI)

Article Link: https://d.wanfangdata.com.cn/periodical/jzxb202302013

  • Interdisciplinary Social Practice Based on Rural Revitalization Education – A Preliminary Exploration of Research-oriented Integrated Teaching Models

Published Journal: Higher Architectural Education

Article Link:http://qks.cqu.edu.cn/gdjzjycn/article/abstract/gj-202208017

  • Medium-Sized Lake Water Quality Parameters Retrieval Using Multispectral UAV Image and Machine Learning Algorithms: A Case Study of the Yuandang Lake, China

Published Journal: Drones (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, Source Journal in SCIE) Article Link: https://www.mdpi.com/2504-446X/7/4/244

IV. Conference Organisation Category

UN World Cities Day Supporting Event: 2023 China (Suzhou) Forum on Urban and Landscape Industry Development

This forum is a supporting event for the United Nations World Cities Day, organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Construction Industry Sub-Council. UES organized and chaired a dialogue on "Beautiful Cities and the Development of the Landscape Industry." Discussions and exchanges were conducted with foreign scholars from XJTLU, local government departments, and guests from well-known domestic and international enterprises. Following the conference, guests from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University were invited to Suzhou media interviews.

The Expert Dialogue Presided by Dr Yunqing Xu Together with XJTLU Experts

Furthermore, UES has orchestrated a multitude of themed seminars and exchange activities, drawing experts and scholars as well as students from diverse backgrounds to engage in detailed and in-depth discussions. These events foster collaborative exploration on a range of research topics, enriching the intellectual discourse within the academic community.

The 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures (ICSBS2023)

UES supported the organisation of the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Structures (ICSBS2023) by Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.

International Workshop on Industrial Cluster Decarbonisation: Sharing International Experience

This international conference is hosted by the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC). Dr. Yunqing Xu, the Director of UES, was invited to deliver a speech on the topic of "Decarbonization of Chinese Industrial Clusters." The conference attracted over 60 participants from 14 countries across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and representatives from various international organizations.

2023 International Association for China Regional Studies Annual Conference

The conference is jointly organized by the International Association for China Regional Studies and the Faculty of Geography Science at Beijing Normal University. Dr. Yunqing Xu delivered a talk on the topic of "Opportunities or Challenges in Regional Innovation Cooperation? Research on the Cooperation Mechanism of 'Exclave Economy' Jointly Built Industrial Parks." Dr. Xu also served as a session discussant during the conference, which attracted more than 350 scholars from well-known universities and research institutions both domestically and internationally.

International Symposium on Development Zone Transformation and Urban Innovative Development in 2023

The conference is hosted by the Urban Planning Society of China and Southeast University. UES research team participated in the poster presentation on the theme of "Cooperation Mechanism and Knowledge Transfer in Exclave Parks—A Case Study of Suzhou Industrial Park."

V. Global Expert Dialogue

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, UES initiated the "Global Expert Dialogues" series since early 2020. Covering diverse topics, the series engages with experts, scholars, and urban management practitioners, and publishes reports in both Chinese and English. The initiative, which received widespread support and positive feedback, continued in 2023. UES integrates international perspectives with local insights, fostering in-depth discussions on topics like regional planning, waste management, sensory spaces, urban resilience, and low-carbon planning and design. Staff from the Department of Urban Planning and Design at XJTLU have also become active contributors to the discussion, collectively looking into the development of healthy, livable, and sustainable cities and regions.

Scenes of UES Engaging in Dialogues and Exchanges with Experts and Staff


Selected dialogue topics and links are as follows:

Reflecting on 2023, UES orchestrated numerous domestic and international collaborations and exchanges on vital topics like low-carbon development, water science, environmental governance, enclave economy, cooperative industrial parks, and urban regeneration. These efforts accumulatively contributed to creating a diverse platform for knowledge innovation and transformation.

Looking ahead to 2024, our commitment continues as we expand our collaboration network based on the "GLOCAL" (Global and Local) characteristics. Our focus remains on deepening high-quality research efforts, making unwavering contributions to advancing urban sustainable development, achieving dual carbon goals, and promoting regional cooperation. Together, we will script a new chapter!


Story and photos provided by UES

26 Feb 2024