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The negative approach to urban growth planning of Beijing, China


  • Kongjian Yu
  • Sisi Wang
  • Dihua Li


Among other issues, the degrading environmental and ecological situations, the low performance scrambled city form and the loss of cultural identity in Beijing City have proved that the conventional ‘population projection-urban infrastructure-land use’ approach and the architectural urbanism approach to urban growth planning failed to meet the challenges of swift urbanisation and sustainability issues in China in general, and Beijing in particular. The ‘negative approach’ is proposed that defines an urban growth and urban form through the identification and planning of Ecological Infrastructure (EI). This approach has evolved from the pre-scientific model of Feng-shui as the sacred landscape setting for human settlement, the nineteenth century notion of greenways as urban recreational infrastructure, the early twentieth century idea of green belts as urban form makers, and the late twentieth century notion of ecological networks and EI as a biological preservation framework. EI is composed of critical landscape elements and structure that are strategically identified and planned to safeguard natural assets and ecosystems services, essential for sustaining human society. EI is strategically planned and developed using less land but more efficiently preserving the ecosystems services. Using Beijing City as an example, this paper demonstrates how to use EI as a tool to guide and frame sustainable urban development.

Suggested Citation

  • Kongjian Yu & Sisi Wang & Dihua Li, 2011. "The negative approach to urban growth planning of Beijing, China," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(9), pages 1209-1236, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:54:y:2011:i:9:p:1209-1236
    DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2011.564488

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    Cited by:

    1. Shuhan Liu & Dongyan Wang & Hong Li & Wenbo Li & Qing Wang, 2017. "Ecological Land Fragmentation Evaluation and Dynamic Change of a Typical Black Soil Farming Area in Northeast China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-21, February.

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