Chinese New Towns – Open Seminar at BJDW2016

Published: 22/09/2016
52Gongmenkou Dongcha
Beijing (CN)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

In the course of the next 20 years it is estimated that another 300 million Chinese citizens will move from rural regions to cities. Recently, a new generation of New Towns has emerged as response to the need of balancing the distribution of the population in favour of the innermost parts of the country, in line with the program “Open up the West”. This phase of urbanization looks as vast and rapid as the preceding ones, but is conditioned by some keywords promoted by the government, such as “sustainability” and “inclusive growth”. Aiming at a more social and economical responsible urban practices, the need of a reciprocal exchange between Western and Eastern experience arises.

Starting from the screening of the video “What can Europe learn from China”, the open forum discusses the way in which Western models were appropriated by the Chinese context and, in a perspective of reciprocal exchange, attempts to understand what the international community can learn from these recent urbanization practices.

Specifically, the event looks at the way in which Chinese New Towns are reworking physical and functional models coming from different contexts, and to what degree these models contribute to the definition of a new social identity. The proliferation of thematic urban developments (from well-known “national cities” to “Science Cities”, “Eco Cities”, etc.) suggests the deployment of an intentional strategy for building communities based on a collective consciousness – or rather a promise. Do these actually play a significant role in the building of a community, or are they mainly justified by market ambitions?

Reciprocally, the new regional-scale polycentric urban models of Chinese New Towns can become a reference for the future urban plans of Western countries: policies and actual (physical) implementations, “tested” in China with the purpose of accelerating citizenship negotiation will possibly give new insights for future applications in Western multipolar regions.

The seminar will start with the opening of Stefania Stafutti (Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing), followed by the introduction of Anna Pagani and Maria Paola Repellino, the curators of the event.

Linda Vlassenrood (International New Town Institute), Yang Dingliang (Harvard University) and Zhong Ge (Tsinghua University), or three experts of China, will lead the debate moderated by Michele Bonino.

The event is organized by the Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing and Politecnico di Torino (CeNTO team).

(Anna Pagani)


CeNTO’s team coordinated by Professor Michele Bonino, Politecnico di Torino

with the support of the Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing


Anna Pagani, EPFL

Maria Paola Repellino, Politecnico di Torino


Fondazione CRT, Torino


Linda Vlassenrood, International New Town Institute

Yang Dingliang, Harvard University

Zhong Ge, Tsinghua University


Daniele Brigadoi Cologna, Università dell’Insubria, Como

Augusto Cagnardi, Gregotti Associati, Milano

Pierre-Alain Croset, Xi’an Jiatong-Liverpool University, Suzhou

Ruurd Gietema, urban KCAP, Shanghai

Florence Graezer Bideau, EPFL, Lausanne

Neville Mars, MARS architects, Shanghai

Maren Striker, Arcadis, London

© Politecnico di Torino - Credits