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The negative approach to urban growth planning of Beijing, China

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Among other issues, the degrading environmental and ecological situations, the low performance scrambled city form and the loss of cultural identity in Beijing City have proved that the conventional ‘population projection-urban infrastructure-land use’ approach and the architectural urbanism approach to urban growth planning failed to meet the challenges of swift urbanisation and sustainability issues in China in general, and Beijing in particular. The ‘negative approach’ is proposed that defines an urban growth and urban form through the identification and planning of Ecological Infrastructure (EI). This approach has evolved from the pre-scientific model of Feng-shui as the sacred landscape setting for human settlement, the nineteenth century notion of greenways as urban recreational infrastructure, the early twentieth century idea of green belts as urban form makers, and the late twentieth century notion of ecological networks and EI as a biological preservation framework. EI is composed of critical landscape elements and structure that are strategically identified and planned to safeguard natural assets and ecosystems services, essential for sustaining human society. EI is strategically planned and developed using less land but more efficiently preserving the ecosystems services. Using Beijing City as an example, this paper demonstrates how to use EI as a tool to guide and frame sustainable urban development.
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Keywords: ecological infrastructure; ecological planning; landscape planning; landscape urbanism; negative approach

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University, Innovation Center, Peking University Science Park, 127-1 Zhongguancun North St., Haidian DistrictBeijing100080, P.R. China 2: College of Urban and Environmental Sciences Peking University, Beijing, P.R. China

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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