post smog LANDSCAPE

Sommersemester 2017 und Wintersemester 2017/18

Cultural Landscape as Permanent Structure for Urban Development and Renewable Energy in Jiāngsū Shěng, China

In different cultural and social contexts, people have quite different perception of landscape and its value. Our professorship has explored concepts for renewable energy and landscape aesthetics in the European context. International collaborations can lead to new approaches in the topic of renewable energy by large-scale landscape architecture and urbanism.

Project Aim
“Smog” nowadays is a keyword of people’s everyday life in Chinese society. It reveals the severe impact of air pollution caused by energy-intensive urbanization and industrialization in the past three decades. The Yangtze River Delta, especially the metropolis of Shanghai, is one of the fastest growing regions in China. This region is in steady need of supply from its surrounding landscape: agricultural and industrial products, freshwater, and energy produced by brown coal from the north of Jiangsu province. To develop a more sustainable metropolitan region, the energy consumption of the cities should be covered by producing energy locally to reduce carbon emission and energy losses during transmission. Because of the advantages in geophysical conditions, land use density and local energy strategies, the vast plain area situated north of Shanghai could be qualified to produce renewable energy for the whole region. By addressing “post-smog landscape”, we aim to contribute to alleviating the smog issue by integrating new landscape elements of renewable energy, such as solar parks and wind turbines instead of smog producing power plants, into the historic cultural landscape and new urban developments of this region.

Research Questions
How can we integrate these energy landscape elements into a local landscape and still keep or even amplify its qualities? Wind turbines and solar parks can become self-evident parts of a landscape when they are integrated harmoniously to its structure. In the outcome of a broad landscape typology analysis we are able to define rules for arranging energy elements according to their surrounding landscape instead of finding new singular designs for each wind- or solar-park. To find the right proportion in landscape, we should correlate and plan them as a coherent whole with landscape morphology, urban development, old and new infrastructure, and the historic and existing everyday landscape. The complex demand of Chinese society on its limited space in urbanizing landscapes has to be accomplished by multifunctional usage and requalification of the existing landscape. Thus, smog might be wiped out of landscape and will be replaced by positively connoted energy producing elements integrated into the urbanization process. 

Project Area 
In the vast plain area of Jiangsu, from Shanghai to Xuzhou, we will search for its characteristic landscapes, e.g. from the polderlandscape in highly urbanized areas of the Taihu Plain, the basins of Lake Tai, Hongze and Gaoyou, the diverse agricultural landscapes in the Jianghuai Plain, the coastal landscape to the East China Sea up to the former brown coal mining areas of Xuzhou. Working with areas which are already densely populated (100 km circle around Shanghai) and those which are more remote (north of the Yangtze River), we will identify different situations of urban development, infrastructure and agriculture together with renewable energies und questions of further urbanization.