Alternative Futures for the West Lake, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China

Last fall, we taught a studio which focused on the area of the West Lake in Hangzhou, China. The protection and use of this world-famous landscape was the basic \”problem.\” One key conclusion was that in order to achieve any reasonable objectives which combine protection with the enormous development pressures in the city, other areas of the urban region must be made of sufficiently high quality so as to attract most future development. In the next few years, Hangzhou will become one the largest cities in China via its newly annexed areas in YuHang and XiaoShan. This will present both new challenges and new opportunities. The challenge will be how to accommodate urban growth while maintaining the city\’s reputation for high environmental quality. The opportunity will be to create a new regional landscape-based framework of high quality urban amenities that will become the focus for public institutions and private development investment, all linked by modern infrastructure. The studio will have two phases. The first will explore regional landscape-infrastructure alternatives and their potential development responses. The second phase will illustrate significant project-scale real estate and urban development opportunities, especially those along the Qiantang River, the area linking the core with the Grand Canal and the new entry from the airport. The basic schedule for the study is as follows. All events are to take place in the year 2001 unless otherwise noted. Spring and summer set up database May selection of student participants June visit by Prof. Steinitz to help organize the study (tentatively, June 21-23) Late August site visit for students and faculty (tentatively, August 26-September 2) September to December conduct the studio study Early November review of preliminary study results at Harvard Design School Late November review of preliminary study results at Harvard Design School Mid December final review of study results at the Harvard Design School January 2002 presentation of study results in Hangzhou March 2002 study results available on web site and as report