Transition towards urban sustainability through socially integrative cities in the EU and in China

About work packages

(Excerpt from project agreement)

WP1 Community building and place-making in neighbourhoods

TRANS-TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will identify urban design approaches that can contribute to creating socially integrative neighbourhoods and cities, with two major fields of emphasis. The first relates to social identity and sense of community, individual awareness and responsibility. The second deals with building crafts and cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and creative industries. 

Task 1.1   Community building through public engagement

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will identify integrated and design-oriented approaches for Chinese and European cities that maximise co-benefits and minimise potential trade-offs between human, cultural, environmental and economic drivers. We will develop the transition-related knowledge base by analysing citizens’ perspectives for the opportunities and challenges of public engagement in sustainable lifestyles, mapping citizens’ needs through insights from theories of social practice and user-centred design, and experimenting context-specific and citizen-centred studies and participatory design approaches. This work will disclose gains for stakeholders (including policy makers, urban authorities, design agencies or consultants) related to ways in which the public may and may not be engaged in order to achieve sustainable neighbourhoods.

Task 1.2   More inclusive cities through education and digital innovation

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will provide recommendations for community building and social inclusiveness, through public engagement, education, and digital innovation. We will achieve this by analysing transition examples in Europe and China that rely on continuing education and advanced digital tools,            considering the role of public and private institutions that provide networks for citizens living in urban areas in Europe and China, and verifying the state of continuing education in Chinese cities and its influence on the urban social tissue. This will leverage on the role of continuing education as a primary service of a knowledge-centred society and a pivotal mechanism for promoting harmony and unity, and contribute to broaden the comparative analysis on education and active ageing in Europe and China. This work will build on the role of continuing education and the support of advanced digital tools to promote social inclusion and achieve a sustainable development for urban-rural areas.

Task 1.3   Socio-economic values through heritage preservation

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will explore how to balance city development with tangible and intangible cultural heritage by comparing the varying approaches to cultural heritage preservation in Europe and China, adopting both historical and current perspective, and highlighting challenges connected to cultural heritage inside urban transition. We will build on recent good methodologies to ensure the heritage preservation and to leverage on touristic promotion, and identify the socio-economic values of cultural heritage for the transformation of the community and local inhabitants based on case studies. This work will promote urban heritage as a key resource to improve the urban liveability and to foster economic development and social cohesion.

Task 1.4   Place-making and design of public spaces

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will explore specific opportunities for intervention on public spaces in selected case. In the place-making process, we will analyse urban public spaces as a place of human activities where social interaction and participation happen; we will map the processes of social agreement for building new communities as well as the forms of spatial organization where these agreements take place. This work will assess the best practices in which place-making is influenced by the design quality of public spaces, and promote spatial quality through a catalogue of design and planning approaches adapted to living conditions in China.

WP2 Bridging the planning-implementation gap in eco- and smart cities

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will advise by developing guidelines and toolboxes how planning concepts can enable transformative change to overcome implementation barriers to a sustainable urban development in China. We will investigate at the root causes of the gap between strategy development, planning and implementation of eco- and smart cities in China.

Task 2.1   Strategic planning for sustainable urban development

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will establish a systematic analysis framework to assess and improve long-term and binding strategic urban planning and implementation in China and Europe. We will carry out analysis of current approaches on strategic long-term plans, perform screening of potentially interesting cities and cities networks, and explore challenges and obstacles as well as potential solutions in strategy processes based on selected case studies in China and Europe. This work will develop success factors for city-wide sustainable urban strategies in China (eco-cities, green cities, sponge cities, smart cities, healthy cities) considering drivers, process design, funding schemes, and stakeholder involvement.

Task 2.2   Integrative planning in eco-cities and smart cities

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will analyse current approaches to integrated planning including integration of infrastructure on neighbourhood level in China (e.g. international cooperation projects, smart cities, eco-cities, eco-business parks) with a focus on the integration of technical and socio-economic systems. Based on the analysis, strategies and tools will be developed to realise integrative projects and test them in Living Labs. The validated knowledge will be translated in policy recommendations for future integrative planning in other Chinese cities, and serve as an input to transition storylines.

Task 2.3   Mechanisms for implementation, replication and upscaling

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will assess mechanisms that support the implementation of strategies and integrative planning for sustainable urban development, and the replicability and upscaling of project results to the city level. We will achieve this by carrying out 6-8 interviews with Chinese and European experts in case studies as well as by developing implementation and upscaling mechanisms for 2 Chinese cities. This work will serve as input to the scope, frame and illustration of integrated transition pathways towards sustainable urban futures, while corresponding policy recommendations will be developed for urban policy makers in China as well as the European community.

WP3 Land use planning and land management

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will strengthen urban renewal, complement strategies for urban expansion, and improve related land banking and management systems. We will promote a discussion about alternative solutions regarding sustainable urban development in new urban expansion and traditional urban areas in need of urban renewal in Chinese cities under the given legal, institutional, demographic and social framework conditions. This work will provide fact-based and tested knowledge about the feasibility and acceptance of measures to accelerate urban transition and possible transition pathways towards sustainable urbanisation related to land use planning and land management in Chinese cities for further decision-making in China. It will also nurture the discussion in Europe about future forms of land use planning and land management, e.g. in the framework of JPI Urban Europe through UERA.

Task 3.1   Strengthening socially integrative urban renewal

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will scrutinize to what extent and how current urban planning and land development are conducive to socially integrative urban renewal in Chinese cities, and screen good practice examples from Europe and China, based on statistical data, literature review, and policy and strategy documents. A set of propositions and measures to accelerate transition, demonstrating new potentials regarding more socially integrative, environmentally friendly and financially viable urban renewal and redevelopment of existing urban areas in Chinese cities will be developed and tested in urban Living Labs together with policy makers, urban authorities, real estate developers, and inhabitants. Recommendations regarding socially integrative urban renewal will be derived from the results achieved in the Living Labs.

Task 3.2   Fostering urban expansion areas

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will elaborate a comparative overview of strategies and measures for enhancing social integration, connectivity, environmental quality and quality of life in large mono-functional (housing) areas in Europe and China. This work will derive measures to strengthen the transition towards urban sustainability, and discuss and test them together with policy makers, urban authorities and real estate developers in the Living Labs. Based on these results, we will formulate recommendations for supporting further development of urban expansion areas.

Task 3.3   Streamlining land banking and land administration

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will identify strengths and weaknesses of the existing land banking and land administration system and current changes of land use rights (LUR) and corresponding land value changes in Chinese cities. We will establish an information pool of good practices from Europe and China regarding solutions for land banking, land administration and changes of LUR values which are conducive to a more sustainable urbanisation. Potential land banking tools in regard to respective land administration systems (e.g. 3d-cadastre and LUR value changes) will be derived, and their feasibility and acceptance in China will be tested by simulation games in the Living Labs. The results will be the basis for deriving recommendations for Chinese cities.

WP4 Integrated transition pathways towards sustainable urban planning and governance

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will have a cross-cutting function regarding the work carried out in WP1-3. We will integrate WP1-4 recommendations, highlighting the long-term implications of the proposed urban transitions, and present in a coherent manner the integrated pathways towards sustainable urban planning and governance in the form of web-based storylines. This will recommend approaches and methods for systematically adopting Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA) to support urban policy and decision-making. The work will identify transformative capacities in ICT-enabled urban developments in respect to the digital transition of urban planning and governance, combining a top-down Big Data-based Decision Support Platform with a bottom-up socially integrative citizen communities (‘Community of Communities’).

Task 4.1   Scope, frame and illustration of integrated transition pathways towards sustainable urban futures

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will develop web-based storylines illustrating the integrated transition pathways towards sustainable urban planning and governance. We will conduct a literature review to propose a frame of analysis able to best represent the sustainable urban practices and their future impacts. Based on this, we will propose a template to collect information on the transition practices researched and tested in WP1-3 and in the Living Labs and agree on it among consortium partners. By cross-reading the main outputs of WP1-4, we will qualitatively benchmark the practices’ impacts against selected urban variables, policy goals and urban futures. This will contribute to the development of the web-based storylines

Task 4.2   Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA) to support urban planning and governance

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will identify possible transfers of knowledge from the experimentation in Chinese cities for the benefit of Chinese and European cities and validate them with stakeholders. We will carry out a comparative EU/China assessment of the state of the art knowledge in the field of SCBA and in their uptake in urban policy making; particular attention will be given to the inclusion of social externalities such as accessibility to services, congestion, quality of life, public health, and well-being. The assessment will be based on literature (both scientific and application-oriented) available in the field. The results will be verified with practitioners from Living Labs and Reference Cities. This work will take stock of the knowledge gaps and develop enhanced – though realistic – approaches to facilitate the integration of externalities into urban governance and policy making in European and Chinese cities. 

Task 4.3   The digital transition in urban governance and planning

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will promote the digital transition in urban governance and planning based on the evaluation of the combined top- down data-driven and the bottom-up community of communities-driven approaches. We will achieve it by describing major trends concerning the digital urban transition in Europe and China, describing state-of-the-art policies and strategies (regional, local), and identifying major opportunities and challenges from the outcome of the ‘Community of Communities’ and validating them by practitioners from cities through joint workshops. This work will provide components of urban transformative capacities on effective and efficient governance for urban planning guidelines for Chinese and European cities.

WP5 Living Labs, exploitation and dissemination

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will facilitate, coordinate and document interaction with urban stakeholders in Living Labs, Reference Cities, URBAN-EU-CHINA, and other urban stakeholder representatives of authorities, industry, research, and citizens. We will test, consolidate and transfer research outcomes of WP 1-4 with 2 Chinese Living Labs, while promoting and facilitating exchange of knowledge and good practices with Reference Cities. This work will communicate project results to URBAN-EU-CHINA Strategic R&I Agenda and Evidence Base, and thereby disseminate, exploit and broker TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA results towards external stakeholder organisations.

Task 5.1   Living Labs

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will facilitate, coordinate and document the Living Labs in cooperation with WP 1-4, in order to discuss, test and validate their research frameworks and results. We will facilitate and coordinate workshops by WP 1-4 in the Living Labs, by using participatory design methods, scenario modelling, mock-ups, and storyboards, as well as methods and tools that support creative processes, e.g. future workshops, brainstorming, and experience prototyping. In addition, we will test transferability and scalability of the workshop outcomes towards fully functioning innovations with respect to optimal performance, stakeholder needs, and business models. This work will document the Living Lab outcomes, the experiences of the stakeholders and the performance of the various processes used, to enable learning by project partners and stakeholders.

Task 5.2   Reference Cities

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will promote and facilitate exchange of knowledge and good practices with a wider circle of Reference Cities, both in Europe and China. We will invite member-cities of EUR, other European and Chinese networks to join the reference group of TRANS-URBAN- EU-CHINA. It will start with 10 Chinese in cooperation with 10 European cities by June 2017 and will build up towards 30 Chinese and 30 European cities towards April 2019. This work will provide 1) guidance, support peer-to-peer learning and iteration of results, 2) training events for cities, such as workshops and online seminars, 3) events for a wider audience that want to interact and exchange with city administrations and planners, such as stakeholder dialogues, and 4) a knowledge sharing guidebook for city authorities that wish to repeat (or initiate) knowledge sharing activities related to the project’s content.



Task 5.3   Contribution to URBAN-EU-CHINA

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will accelerate the implementation and execution of the URBAN-EU-CHINA R&I Agenda and Evidence Base through research-based transition practices in selected cities, involving urban authorities, real estate developers, public service providers, citizens and other key urban stakeholders. 



Task 5.4   Dissemination, exploitation and brokerage with other initiatives and stakeholders

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will communicate, disseminate and promote exploitation opportunities of project results towards external stakeholder organisations. We will create a Dissemination and Exploitation Strategy (DES) in line with European and Chinese guidelines and practices by using a multi-channel approach. The DES will help all consortium partners to identify communication priorities relevant to their activities, create the narrative, and discern how to best address the corresponding topic, message, and media to promote visibility, discussion, participation, and awareness. In addition, dissemination activities targeting other initiatives will be carried out by creating guidebook templates, crafting project flyers, posters and roll-ups, inviting selected representatives to project events, developing efficient and accessible transfer channels to project outcomes (e.g. website, social media, newsletters), and organising workshops and roundtables during the project’s consortium meetings and stakeholder events. 



WP6 Project Management

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will manage the project scientifically and administratively, coordinate with the External Advisory Board, and link with European Commission and other relevant stakeholders in an effective and inclusive manner. Therefore, the project objectives will be achieved as outlined in the proposal with high quality, within the planned time and the allocated budget; research results of the different Work Packages will be integrated into joint products and publications; we will provide for smooth communication between the Consortium and the European Commission; tools will be developed for communication with other stakeholders to ensure visibility of the project. 

Task 6.1   Scientific coordination and quality management

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will integrate scientific project results of the Work Packages in a coordinated and concise way, prepare and coordinate meetings of the Consortium, the Project Steering Board (PSB) and the External Advisory Board (EAB). 1-2 representatives per Consortium Partner participate in Consortium Meetings; 1 representative per Consortium Partner in the PSB. In addition, we will set up and implement Risk Management list and Contingency Plan as well as Data Management Plan on a regular basis.


Task 6.2   Legal, financial and administrative management

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will set up and guarantee the contractual, financial and administrative consortium management. We will define a Management and Coordination Plan in discussion with and with approval from the Project Steering Board (PSB); manage contractual and legal matters, such as Intellectual Property Rights; set up and maintain the project administrative management tools and strategies; monitor and manage overall financial and accounting aspects as well as organise due audit certificates from the participants.


Task 6.3   Internal communication and communication tools

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will provide effective and efficient internal communication among the project partners, and tools for external communication with stakeholders and the general public (e.g. project website and awareness raising tools, as well as the production of communication material). We will set up mailing lists and collaboration tools and a member’s area on website for international communication. Communication material, Project Website and social media profiles will set up and maintain for making the project visible to the public.

WP7 Ethics requirements

TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA will sets out the 'ethics requirements' that the project must comply with.