No 3 (2012)

Urban Vitality in Dutch and Chinese New Towns. A comparative study between Almere and Tongzhou

'Urban vitality in Dutch and Chinese new towns' identifies the spatial and non-spatial factors and conditions that facilitate the development of urban vitality in new towns. It is aimed to reveal the impacts of spatial design, urban planning and governance approaches on the degree and patterns of local urban life of new towns in China and in the Netherlands, based on a comparative study of two cases: Almere in the north wing of the Randstad region in the Netherlands and Tongzhou in the metropolitan region of Beijing in China. The study does not intend to tackle the economic and sociological concepts in themselves, but to focus on the interrelationships between space and society.Building new towns seems to be a rational approach that releases pressure from overly burdened large cities. This strategy was developed in Western Europe in the middle of twentieth century. Since the 1990s, the European new town model has been widely implemented in China. However, the author questions the feasibility of the large-scale, hasty new town developments. The study of worldwide new town experiences, especially European and Chinese cases, demonstrates that many new towns in fact have difficulty in achieving a real sense of urban quality and vitality. So far, few research projects have been conducted to evaluate and develop solutions for this problem.

Table of Contents

PhD thesis

Jing Zhou
1-432