conference paper
China’s Urban Growth Boundaries: Towards a Context-Responsive Method
14 Oct 2021
| By
Christian Christian Nolf
Weishun Weishun Xu
Christian Christian Nolf
Version 1
Urban planning (urban design)
Landscape design
Urban Containment; Urban Growth Boundary; Three Redline Policy; Chinese Planning; Research-through-design
“Urban-rural Integration” And “Areas In-between”
After four decades of fierce urban growth driven by economic development, China recently adopted a three redline policy to protect its permanent farmland, vital ecosystems and to contain urban expansion. To delineate urban growth boundaries (UGBs), the currently adopted land-use suitability methods all use quantitative indicators to define a compromise between competing spatial claims. However, ignoring site characteristics and underpinned by an increasingly dualistic conception of the urban and the rural realms, these methods often result in generic and inert UGBs devoid of any spatial quality. This paper explores how UGBs, rather than passive boundaries, can be designed as context-responsive and integrative urban-rural interfaces. A brief description of the urban growth phenomenon and the authorities' responses at the national level is followed by more specific investigations in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. Six representative urban-rural edges are examined in terms of historical development, planning, policies, current challenges and opportunities. Based on the analysis, alternative design strategies are proposed to refine the definition of UGBs with a perspective of spatial quality and programmatic innovation. A final part discusses how the design explorations in the YRD can be systematized as a qualitative context-responsive method for UGB planning in China.
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Details DOI 10.24404/6167f3651486320009909234
Submitted by14 Oct 2021
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Christian Nolf

Nolf, C., Xie, Y. & Xu, W. (2021). China’s Urban Growth Boundaries: Towards a Context-Responsive Method [preprint]. The Evolving Scholar | IFoU 14th Edition.