School of the Built Environment


    Integrated urban streets design in mid-size Chinese cities: the case of Lishui 


    • BSc (Hons) Geography with Environmental Management
    • MSc in Urban Planning: Developing and Transitional Regions


    • Professor Georgia Watson
    • Dr Laura Azevedo

    In China, traditional urban design and street networks were strictly controlled by the feudal monarchy. The function of streets was political, military and ritual. Until the Song dynasty the human scale of streets promoted social interaction; streets became vibrant places for human daily life with mixed use. However, since industrialisation and economic growth in the 1990s, China has increasingly aspired to become more like developed nations; the traditional human dimensions and function of streets has changed, being replaced by modern, engineered roads and large open spaces.

    Recently, there has been a growing interest in researching this issue. Some researchers study engineering and landscape design principles, focusing on large Chinese cities. However, there is a lack of research on medium or small size cities. There is a need to investigate typology of streets and the ways in which we can accommodate different social-cultural functions of the modern Chinese society. This will be investigated by linking theoretical concepts and street design practice as both the movement corridors and as places that address the social role and cultural characteristics of the streets. This research proposes to develop theoretical and urban design principles of streets design, both as a global phenomenon and a locally responsive solution, in the context of Chinese, medium and small cities, to meet current and future needs in terms of quality of streets.