Georgia Tech’s urban design team proposes an ecological urban plan for the Future Waterfront at the Pearl River Delta of China

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Building on a theme that has gained momentum in Associate Professor Perry Yang’s annual international urban design studio, a group of city and regional planning, architecture, civil engineering, and public policy graduate students gathered together t

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Building on a theme that has gained momentum in associate professor Perry Yang’s annual international urban design studio, a group of city and regional planning, architecture, civil engineering, and public policy graduate students gathered together this spring to address the development issues of a rapidly urbanizing waterfront city in Southern China.  Sponsored by the local government and the Guangdong Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute (GDUPI), Georgia Tech’s student and faculty group traveled to Guangzhou and Maoming, China, located adjacent to the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province, to conduct research and share ideas with local and provincial government as part of a semester-long studio project.  The participation of the workshop included 12 Georgia Tech students, professors Perry Yang, Nancey Green Leigh, Richard Dagenhart and Bruce Stiftel, Ph.D. candidate Steven Quan, as well as visiting scholars Yang Chen and Bin Gong from GDUPI.

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  • Perry Yang Studio 1 Perry Yang Studio 1
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  • Perry Yang Studio 2 Perry Yang Studio 2
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Building on a theme that has gained momentum in associate professor Perry Yang’s annual international urban design studio, a group of city and regional planning, architecture, civil engineering, and public policy graduate students gathered together this spring to address the development issues of a rapidly urbanizing waterfront city in Southern China.  Sponsored by the local government and the Guangdong Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute (GDUPI), Georgia Tech’s student and faculty group traveled to Guangzhou and Maoming, China, located adjacent to the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong Province, to conduct research and share ideas with local and provincial government as part of a semester-long studio project.  The participation of the workshop included 12 Georgia Tech students, professors Perry Yang, Nancey Green Leigh, Richard Dagenhart and Bruce Stiftel, Ph.D. candidate Steven Quan, as well as visiting scholars Yang Chen and Bin Gong from GDUPI. The students worked to create a development plan for the Shuidong Bay New Town that is responsive to the demands of the government and local villagers alike, while balancing the economic and ecological needs of the larger ring-city region.

Shuidong Bay New Town is located on the Nanhai Peninsula, within the City of Maoming, an energy hub of southern China. Decades of petrochemical manufacturing and oil refining have left Old Town Maoming facing significant environmental and public health concerns, igniting protests and social unrest.  The government of Maoming is hoping to develop the Shuidong Bay New Town into a sustainable, livable eco-city that will attract residents from the old town, as well as domestic and international tourists.  Currently, the Nanhai Peninsula houses 36,000 residents, most of whom reside in local villages and sustain their households through a mix of agricultural activities, the fishing industry, small-scale manufacturing, and port activities related to the petrochemical industry.  The peninsula is facing challenges balancing industrial development, the ecological needs of the greater bay area, and the tourism-focused vision it holds for the future. 

While in China, the Georgia Tech students and professors presented ideas, based on prior research as well as information gathered from the site investigations made over the course of the prior week.  The students presented plans to integrate the local villages into future eco-tourisms, advocating for incremental improvement of the infrastructure and renewable energy and water systems for the villages.  Additionally, students proposed restoration strategies for the mangroves at the bayfront and the sand dunes at the beach to allow the ecological systems to return to their natural functions.  Ideas were also proposed to expand the economy beyond the port and tourism industries toward economic activities that would allow the skill sets of the villagers to be leveraged by creating green jobs.

The experience of visiting the peninsula, seeing the site conditions, meeting with local officials, and interacting with local villagers greatly enriched the students’ understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the Shuidong Bay New Town. Upon their return to the U.S., the students continued to develop their ideas and plans, presenting them publicly to a jury composed of local planning professionals with prior experience in the region. Georgia Tech representatives presented the final report of the international waterfront studio to the Shuidong Bay New Town government and the Guangdong Urban and Rural Planning and Design Institute and on June 20 and 21 at the final meeting in Guangzhou, China. For more information, visit the studio group’s website: http://waterfrontcities.wordpress.com.

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College of Design

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Related Core Research Areas
Energy and Sustainable Infrastructure
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Keywords
China, GDUPI, Green Buzz, nancey green leigh, nanhai peninsula, perry yang, shuidong bay new town, urban design
Status
  • Created By: Jessie Brandon
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 14, 2014 - 6:42am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:16pm