ISSUES2013 No.4
Editor’s Note: The observation on China’s urban development since the 1950s till today reveals that it has been closely related to the construction of a number of mega-projects, such as the 156 industrial projects aided by the former Soviet Union in the 1950s, the “Three Lines” war preparation projects in the 1960s, the directly imported production projects from the West in the 1970s, the special development zone projects in the 1980s, and the industrial or economic development zone projects in the 1990s. That makes the construction of mega-projects a key character of China’s contemporary urban development, which has greatly influenced not only the socio-economic development but also the physical environment of Chinese cities. During this process, urban design, as an important complement to the statutory urban planning which deals with issues mainly in a two-dimensional way, has been broadly applied to guide the evolution of urban morphology in view of its advantage of three-dimensional expression. Although the practice of urban design in China follows almost the same theories and methodologies of urban planning and design as that in the West, it is quite different because of the large scale of projects it concerns, with more attention to the overall control on urban morphology, urban landscape, spatial structure, functional layout, etc. at the macro level, referring probably to a district, a city, a municipality, or even a region composed of several municipalities, rather than the shaping of specific urban spaces at the micro level, referring to a neighborhood, a block, or even a lot. It has led to the birth of the modern Chinese theories and methodologies of urban design, which would greatly enrich those of the West. In some sense, they could also be taken as a significant heritage of Chinese traditions of urban planning and design, as expressed by the Old City of Beijing which was praised as a masterpiece of urban planning and design by Professor Sicheng LIANG.

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