Foto: Jörg Gläscher

The immense scale of urbanisation across China in recent years has demonstrated the inherent implications of uneven economic, social, and environmental development. As a result, it is vital to expand urban-oriented research and policy design towards fostering more efficient and socio-ecologically balanced transformation processes between large urban concentrations and their rural hinterlands. This is the starting point for the Sino-German research and development project 'Urban-Rural Assembly' (URA), which applies the vastly urbanising region of Huangyan-Taizhou in Zhejiang Province in China as a unique research laboratory and development environment. 

Building on cooperations between leading academic and non-academic partners in the field of sustainable urban and regional transformation in Germany and China, URA creates an inter- and trans-disciplinary research approach aiming to: (1) build a multi-scalar understanding of trans-local urban-rural interdependencies and metabolisms at the urban-rural interface; (2) strengthen urban-rural linkages through developing and implementing community-driven pilot interventions that enhance resource efficiency and reinforce regional circular economies in the fields of cultural heritage, renewable resources and food security, tested in Local Transformation Laboratories (Reallabore); and (3) develop new strategic multi-level, multi-actor governance tools that enable local municipalities to manage urban-rural linkages towards a progressive regional model that builds on socio-ecologically inclusive and cooperative development approaches.


German Consortium: Technische Universität Berlin Habitat Unit (Projektleitung); TU Berlin Circular Economy, TU Berlin China Center; Bauhaus-Universität Weimar Landscape architecture and planning, Leibniz-Institut für ökologische Raumentwicklung; 

Chinese Consortium: Tongji-Universität, Shanghai; Zhejiang Universität, Hangzhou; China Agricultural University, Peking; Shanghai University, Shanghai 

Das Projekt kooperiert außerdem u.a. mit UN Habitat, der IBA Thüringen, Urban Catalysts GmbH, AEDES Architecture Forum 

URA is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the FONA programme Sustainable Development of Urban Regions based on BMBF’s China Strategy. An initial Definition Phase from 04/2019 to 09/2020 will be followed by the Research and Development Phase (R&D) from 10/2020 to 09/2024. The project has the potential to be extended to an additional two-year Implementation phase from 10/2024 to 09/2026.

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