Towards2050: Developing a Sino-Dutch Approach for Sustainable Urbanisation

14 September 2014



For the next two weeks Beijing will see an intense Sino-Dutch cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development. On September 14, 2014, the 2014 edition of Towards2050: Developing a Sino-Dutch Approach for Sustainable Urbanisation starts. The program consists of workshops and seminars in which Chinese and Dutch designers and experts participate. The programme is part of the Dutch contribution to the Beijing Design Week. 

Towards2050: Developing a Sino-Dutch Approach for Sustainable Urbanisation is a multi-annual programme that was initiated in July 2013 by the Creative Industry Fund NL. The goal of the initiative is to explore how the Dutch integrated planning approach can be adapted and implemented within the context of the rapid urbanisation of Chinese metropolitan regions. To this end, the programme organizes Sino-Dutch design projects, research, work weeks, seminars and exchanges.

The first exploratory workweek took place during the Beijing Design Week in September 2013. The aim was to create a platform for an exchange of ideas between Dutch and Chinese professionals in the field of urban development. During this workweek, they collaborated successfully on three pilot cases in Beijing, provided by the local stakeholder, the Fengtai District Planning Bureau.

Since then, both Dutch and Chinese organisations, knowledge institutes and private companies have shown increasing interest in our programme. This shows the growing understanding that today’s com­plex challenges call for multi-disciplinary action and international collaboration.

The theme this year is Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and Towards2050 works together with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning, Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Development, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Land and Resources, World Bank Beijing Office, Tsinghua University, China Railway Corporation, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, China Architecture Design & Research Group, Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning & Design, China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, UED Magazine, CMoDA and Beijing Design Week.

The former Dutch Chief Government Advisor on Infrastructure and curator of Towards2050, Mr. Ton Venhoeven: “I am delighted with the broad background and expertise of the Chinese and Dutch participants. There are various specialists and generalists, policy makers and designers, from both public and private institutions. With professors and students they work together on projects that contribute to smart, competitive, sustainable and healthy urban regions.”
Particularly unique in the programme is the close collaboration between designers and financial specialists. The collaboration is partly motivated by the wish of the Chinese government to look for new business models while improving the quality of life for its citizens. The Dutch urban agglomerations and their interconnections constitute an interesting practice for China. A practice that provides a good basis for the exchange of knowledge and capital flows, also from China to the Netherlands.

Considering the combination of different specialists from government, research institutes and businesses Towards2050 is the ideal platform for the launch of a new organization to be set up: an ‘Alliance for Economic Development and City’. This initiative by Fakton and VenhoevenCS architecture +urbanism focuses on strengthening the relationship between livable cities, infrastructure, economy and investment climate. This alliance aims to bring together the best of Dutch expertise in these fields and to put this expertise in the international limelight.

Towards2050: Developing a Sino-Dutch Approach for Sustainable Urbanisation has been made possible with contributions from the Creative Industry Fund NL, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, CSR Netherlands, City of Utrecht, VenhoevenCS architecture+urbanism, Fakton, TNO, Tsinghua UniversityBeijing Institute of Architectural Design and the World Bank Beijing Office. The program is endorsed by Dutch Culture, the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects, the Dutch Embassy in Beijing and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning.

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