UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sustainable urban form for modern Guangzhou in Southern China : a culturally rooted proposal Zhang, Xiaoliang


"As planners and designers, we face the challenge of creating and maintaining communities which are affordable, efficient, scaled to human proportions, and environmentally sound. When searching for design solutions within these constraints, it is important to consider and learn from the past, from its successes and its failures. The past can reveal suggestions and alternatives for the future. " (Nelessen, 1994, p43) Owing to over 2100 years of history and a distinct geographical location, the traditional city of Guangzhou is characterized by the Ling-nan culture and a unique subtropical climate. Since the mid-1980s, the city has witnessed rapid economic growth and a booming population, placing considerable strain on its infrastructure, environment, and culture. It has been an urgent need for an appropriate urban spatial form to develop the city toward sustainability. This thesis takes on this challenge and tries to draw inspiration from the city's old-traditional districts to make recommendations for the city's development in the future. In this research, 25 indicators are proposed with regard to urban design components at both site and city region scales. These indicators are developed with regard to the principle of sustainable development in the environmental and human dimensions. They are used to evaluate and analyze both Guangzhou's old and current city forms, generating 57 recommendations for the development of a more sustainable urban form for the City of Guangzhou.

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