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Institut für Freiraumentwicklung
Logo Leibniz Universität Hannover
Institut für Freiraumentwicklung
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Urbanization and Locality: Preserving and Developing Identity in Large-Scale Urbanization Processes with Urban Landscapes along Canals as Case Studies

Leitung:Prof. Dr. Martin Prominski; Prof. Dr. Fang WANG (Peking Universität); Forschungspartner: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Prasse + Prof. Dipl. Ing. Carl Herwarth von Bittenfeld (LUH); Bihu WU + Shuangcheng LI (Peking Universität)
Laufzeit:Mai 2016 - April 2019
Förderung durch:Chinesisch-Deutsches Zentrum für Wissenschaftsförderung (ein Joint-Venture der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und der National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)); GZ 1201

The project starts from the assumption that current urbanization projects look more and more the same. They do not address the local character of the site (genius loci) which leads to urban areas with a low identity. Those new districts make them difficult for the inhabitants to identify with their environment, which decreases the quality of living. The project aims to develop alternatives and asks: What are the characteristics for locality in urban areas? What are characteristics of a dynamic understanding of locality, avoiding museumization? How can these characteristics be addressed in the planning and design process to achieve a balance between locality and rapid urbanization?

To address these questions, urban canal landscapes are chosen as the subject for studying the dynamic relation between urbanization and locality because they have a specific character by rich historical layers, at the same time they are currently facing with a high pressure by urban transformation processes with the risk of uniformity. To develop applicable principles for future urbanization projects with a high identity, case studies from Germany and China are chosen because both countries represent the different phases of mature versus rapid urbanization. This leads to different urbanization approaches, which supports the creation of research results with a wide applicability.

In China, the Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou is chosen as case study area because so many culturally and naturally diverse cities along its 1776-kilometer stretch are confronted with a change towards a more and more uniform appearance. In Germany, urbanization projects along canals from different regions all over the country are chosen. The research will analyze recent and historical urban development projects along the Grand Canal as well as German canals, parallel to a study on the different concepts of locality in China and Germany. From this basis, principles which are applicable to planning and design processes will be developed. They will support future projects in China and Germany as well as beyond to achieve an urbanization which preserves and develops the local character.
Research results Wuxi
Research results Tianjin