Course Title: Landscape Design Studio 4 (ARCH 3040)
Instructor: Steven YN Chen
Since the establishment of Special Economic Zones in Southern China following the market reforms that began in
1978, areas designated for economic development have been critical drivers of investment and urbanization in cities across
China. In Shanghai, the creation of Pudong New Area in the 1990s, with its four key zones in Lujiazui, Waigaoqiao, Jinqiao, and Zhangjiang, marked a shift from a manufacturing- and export-based economy to a diversified set of economic priorities including finance and high-tech industries. This policy has produced some impressive results in Shanghai. From 1992 until 2008, the city has maintained double-digit GDP growth every year, with GDP growing from RMB 1.114 trillion to RMB 14.069 trillion in a span of 16 years. In 2009, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that Shanghai accounted for 25 percent of China’s trade and served as the country’s largest trading centre. The transformation of Shanghai into a global city for trade and finance reflects the government’s success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into strategicallydesignated economic zones across the city, where favourable incentives are made available.
The economic expansion of Shanghai coincides with very tangible physical transformations. Massive investments have been made to enhance the city’s infrastructure, including new roads, subway lines, highways, power stations, sea ports, and water treatment facilities. The city’s urban extent has also been expanding around the historic core at an accelerated pace. Former farmlands and rural townships have been subsumed by the urban landscape of shopping malls, apartment blocks, office towers, corporate campuses and factories.
In this period of unrelenting development and pursuit of economic growth, it is critical to examine and analyse existing patterns of urbanization and question its sustainability, function, and contribution to public life. With this approach, the design studio engaged with the city in four projects this semester that resulted in the design and planning of an urban campus in the context of a high-tech park.