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URBANI[XX] Workshop 2019 | Journey Journal
- URBANIXX Workshop participants and hosts from NTHU
- © CCST
At the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) (國立清華大學), located in Hsinchu (新竹市), Taiwan, the one-week URBANI[XX] alumni/ae workshop “Future City, Future Village” brought together a group of 40 international scientists and practitioners to introduce their concepts, theories and best-practice examples (October 21st–25th 2019).
German, Chinese and Taiwanese participants from the fields of urbanization and urban-rural development highlighted the challenges that arise within various regions; through lectures, field trips and exercises; the participants have increased their understanding of the sustainable development of cities and villages, as well as how they interconnect and interact.
- © CCST
Globalization and urbanization have brought opportunities and rapid development everywhere, especially to urban areas. In some cases, cities become connected to suburban and rural areas, which then develop into metropolitan regions. Yet more often, the disconnection between cities and villages leads not only to an unbalanced development of human resources but also to competition for natural resources. What will the future of cities and villages in Mainland China, Taiwan and Germany look like? Ideally: smart, green, and sustainable! But how do we reach these aims?
Specific topics of the workshop included: challenges in technology, society, urban design, economics, mobility, governance, history, energy, and ecology. They have addressed digitalization and artificial intelligence, intra-urban and rural-urban social networks, regional balance and diversity, as well as globalization versus localization issues.
The hosts from the National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) welcomed the workshop participants with great warmth, excellent organizational support and thematically perfect excursions!
The campus itself resembles a mirror of Taiwan’s society and economy: on the one hand there are green gardens with memorial pavilions on the other high technology like semiconductors.
- © CCST
The first day of the workshop concluded with a formal dinner generously hosted by Prof. HUANG Shuming, dean of the college of humanities and social studies. The dinner posed a first opportunity for the workshop participants from Germany, China, and Taiwan to connect and network.
During the week, academics and practitioners presented insights on their work regarding urban planning and development. The contributions - poster presentations, Q an A, and discussions - provided insightful perspectives on the development of urban and rural areas as well as on socio-economic factors.
Among others, concepts like Taobao (淘宝) villages or informal factories were outlined: Taobao villages are villages with high involvement in e-commerce. They are leading to a revitalization of the countryside as young people choose to stay and become entrepreneurs by opening online shops instead of moving to the city. Informal factories are factorie built on agricultural land where a small farmer's field remains as an alibi because the land is not designated to be an industrial area.
Keynotes by Prof. LI Keping (Tongji University) and the architect Thomas Fritzsche (tfa) showcased the state of the art in academics on urban bicycle mobility and in practice on green building architecture – the breath and body of a city. They shared their experiences of the growing vision by city planners to promote sustainability and energy-efficiency.
Many of the participants have joined together to form cooperation partners and researchers through the workshop – and now are partners in the URBANIXX and DCHAN-activities (Sino-German Alumni Networks).
- © CCST
Furthermore, an outcome of this workshop is a published book about urban-rural challenges, which is compiled by all participants and published by the editor Christian Berkes who attended the workshop. “Book sprint” is a project management method to conceptualize and compile content by multiple peers in order to compile a book within 3-5 days. It offers an opportunity to learn more about the participants’ ideas on green mobility, sustainable architecture, smart farming and more.
Whereas the exchange of academics and practitioners already consolidated approaches to “Future cities, Future villages” from multiple perspectives, a deeper understanding of the urban-rural interfaces was given by guided excursions to different areas nearby Hsinchu by local experts:
- © Johannes Gast
First, the group went to the Hsinchu Science Park, a global hub of integrated circuit (IC) technology.
The second visit was to a farmer's market, where the participants got to know more about rural life including local delicacies.
Thirdly, the cultural influence of Japan becomes prevalent in the oldtown of Hsinchu and food offers of a night market where the group enjoyed firstly an atmospheric dinner and secondly a presentation on the development of Hsinchu Night Market.
- © CCST
- © CCST
Moreover, the understanding of the relationship between city and village got deepened by an additional excursion to the organic farm delivering the farmers market. The farm implemented and tested an integrated AI-system from the NTHU. The nearby village Guanxi (關西鎮), which is residing in a river delta, presented its concept of rural revitalization, where the villagers empowered and organized themselves to build up leisure infrastructure next to consolidating their regional and historical identity.
Besides, the workshop served to foster the existing Sino-German Alumni Network DCHAN of academics and practitioners of which URBANIXX is part of. This workshop served to strengthen the ties between the Chinese-German alumni and discover new opportunities for cooperation between the alumni like in academic projects that might include a practitioner’s perspective.
- © CCST
The workshop was organized by URBANI[XX], the German-Chinese Alumni/ae Network for Urbanization and Urban Development, which was established in 2017 by the China Center of TU Berlin, Germany and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF).
You can find our workshop program here ,
the panel overview here 
and directions to download the book sprint PDF here .