Sustainable Urban Renewal and Densification in China: The Case of Suzhou in the Yangtze River Delta Region

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Paola Pellegrini, Jinliu Chen

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: China; sustainable urbanization; densification; Suzhou; resettlement communities

China is gradually and steadily shifting towards more sustainable development and the local governments are increasingly promoting sustainable spatial planning practices. The article debates the potential contradiction between the goal of a growing urban population and the reduced consumption of land planned by the sustainable development strategy of the city of Suzhou in the Yangtse River Delta region. The article explores the opportunities of densification of the residential urban environment as a possible solution for this contradiction. The article presents some Chinese examples of densification for land use efficiency and identifies in the resettlement communities of Suzhou some of the sites that can be efficiently redeveloped for their obsolescent conditions that do not correspond to the increasingly middle-class status of the residents in the region. The article investigates the different options of densification possible in the resettlement communities in the frame of the policies of urban renewal promoted in China in recent years for improving the urban quality of cities.

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