First International Workshop on Critical Planning for Chinese Cities, organised by the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University.
The case study selected for the First Workshop in Suzhou is Xishan Island in Tai lake. The main aim of the workshop was to study the potentialities of preserving the existing physical structure of two villages such as the main features of the cultural landscape.
The idea of launching a series of workshop in Suzhou reflected the urgency of studying the current planning practices in China predominantly based on the needs of modernization, regardless of the social and environmental costs of such a model of development.
A rigorous understanding of China today, from the planning point of view, has to take into account not only a deep knowledge of the contemporary city’s transformations and their implications but also the capability to compare and contrast China and Western countries in terms of old and new trends, levels of convergence/divergence, critical theoretical frameworks and possible planning solutions.
A number of villages located along the shores of Tai lake and in the Xishan island were examined in detail to understand the impact interventions and investments to support agriculture and fishery, and to promote tourism can have on their future. Proposals to reduce their possible negative results were also suggested.