- Shenyang Urban Planning Project   click here to open paper content494 kb
by    Ross, Peter | ppr@fastmail.fm   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper details the experiences and lessons of an EU supported project in China, designed to introduce urban planning mechanisms relevant to a large city which is undergoing profound change, consequent on the switch to a market economy, the opening up to the world, and a legacy of environmental damage.
Shenyang Urban Planning Project

China is undergoing considerable change. The switch to a market economy, the opening up to the world, and a legacy of environmental damage, is having a profound impact on urban planning.

Shenyang is one of the largest of Chinas cities. For many years it was an industrial powerhouse. Today, a substantial segment of that economic base is obsolete, as are housing areas and infrastructure provision.

Shenyang Municipal Government identified the central element of this EU supported project:

to assist achieve sustainable development through the application of integrated urban planning and management policies and practices.

Engagement in practical initiatives is vital to achieving the objectives of the project, as is close work with local agencies.

Work in a major industrial area involves detailed assistance with regeneration. Advice on the conservation of the Imperial Palace is planned to result in World Bank funding and in World Heritage listing. Other initiatives include: city expansion planning, urban greening, environmental rehabilitation, traffic management, urban design, infrastructure renewal and housing rehabilitation.

The project is thus of practical importance; it is also of theoretical interest.

In China under the planned economy the requirements of city master planning matched the mechanisms available. The shift towards a socialist market system necessitates the introduction of more dynamic planning mechanisms. Through the project these challenges are explored in detail, seeking a relevant engagement with a multi-actor world. Commercially aware partnership mechanisms and the precise on-the-ground meaning of sustainability, that does not flinch from the most challenging of urban regeneration situations, have been explored. The hardest lesson: that of institutional reform has not been avoided.

It is perhaps through the exploration of such dynamic integrated models of urban planning that the increasing impacts of globalisation on economic life, social stability and environmental responsibility can best be managed.


Urban development in China is undergoing profound change. The project covers planning practice in China, the forces at work and the relevance in such circumstances of various planning mechanisms. The project tackles economic, social and environmental issues, and the role of Government and private bodies and their relationships.

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