Vanke Vision: Sustainable Residential Development in Shanghai (2006)

From September 2005 to June 2006, with the generous support of the Vanke Real Estate Group (Shanghai Offi ce), three graduate courses were offered by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT: Research Seminar in Fall, 2005; Field Survey during Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January 2006; and Planning and Design Workshop in Spring 2006. Vanke’s goal is to continue to improve the design of their housing communities as issues of sustainability become national priorities. All three courses take as their organizing principle that sustainability is not just concerned with environmental issues but equally with economics and equity. Our purpose is to fi nd solutions that are environmentally sound, economically viable and accessible to all residents.

This Urban Planning and Design Handbook is the work of the Planning and Design Workshop. Vanke provided two sites for the class to explore:

Baima and Qibao. Baima is surrounded by farmland and low-density villas. Qibao is in a fully urbanized context. In the fi rst stage, students revised the development principles developed during the Research Seminar. Based on their field observations, resident surveys and interviews, they reorganized the original four categories into three systems (community facilities, site systems, and building systems). In order to design for a long term, we identifi ed several scenarios:

1. National regulations will prioritize energy conservation, resource conservation, environmental protection, economic growth, public transportation, social equity (urban/rural and intra-urban), and local control.

2. Energy (oil, coal, and electricity) prices will rise signifi cantly.

3. There will be serious resource depletion including drinking water, building materials, cheap labor, land (farm land, building land, recreation land, and land for solid waste disposal).

4. Increase in air and water pollution.

5. Demographic changes including aging population, more in-migration, fewer children, later marriage and childbearing age, the diminishing centrality of the family.

6. Life style changes including increased consumerism/consumption, higher indoor comfort levels, more auto ownership, increased demand for recreation and entertainment, higher incomes, more services and fewer industrial jobs, more internet use.

Students were then divided into two teams working on both sites proposing both programs and design schemes. After mid-term, each team spent two weeks switched their sites and made quick proposals for the other sites in order to take advantage of students’ various background and interests. Then they worked on their original sites and developed comprehensive schemes for the rest of the semester.