The Thematic group, Urban Transformation in Europe and China, focuses the knowledge exchange between Chinese and European urban expertise on urban transformation processes, especially comparing urban regeneration practice in Europe and China.
While the New Urbanization Strategy in China will encourage new urban development in Central and Western China, the fast growing metropolitan cities in the East of the country are exploring appropriate ways and means to regenerate already built-up inner city areas. Urban regeneration in China, however, is much more challenging than urban expansion as practiced all over the country. It is technically more complex, more time consuming, more costly and it requires more sensitivity in dealing with citizens living in such areas. And it requires qualified manpower in public institutions and private consulting firms, which differs considerably from the traditional urban design expertise taught at institutes of higher education in China. Increasingly Urban regeneration is regarded as an important strategy to maintain identity by conserving urban heritage and life spaces of the local community.
Since more than five decades, and under the label of urban regeneration or urban revitalization, many cities in Europe have initiated urban renewal policies and strategies. Learning from successes and failures they have experienced how to process regeneration projects, which meet the expectations of public and private stakeholders while considering the obvious fears of residents, small businesses and property owners. What can be learnt from European cities, from their policies and strategies, their projects, their successes and their failures? What are the mechanisms of regeneration processes, what the legal and financial instruments to address the manifold challenges with which cities in Europe are confronted when initiating and implementing regeneration projects.