Combine learning with blog

In this term, we still adhere to writing blog, I have completely adapted to this process, and writing blog has become part of my learning, and another way for me to extend the design thought. I begin to write my understanding and ideas in the process of design into my blog, not only the understanding to the lecture, but my inspiration to the current design. In the process of writing blog, I record the deign process, and this is also a process of thinking and studying design repeatedly. Blog has become a very good work note, which records my understanding to design. It is the result of many days’ thought and practice, and also a solution to some problem in design. At the same time, blog can reflect the thinking process of people, not only the result of thinking. For a problem or field, from not understanding to familiarity and mastering, blog records the process of my thinking and solving of problems. When seeing my blogs later, I will find my problems and ideas in each stage.

The urban design blog is also a place for everyone to exchange design thoughts, classmates can discuss with each other and see others’ different ideas. Let other people understand my own thoughts through blog, mutually exchange different ideas by comments, so that to promote mutual progress. Writing my own ideas into blog is also a process of sorting my own design thought, and in the process of writing blog, the problems also become clear. It continuously promotes me to discover and explore problems and convert my own ideas into problems and graphs which also exercises my expression ability.

Although I already written blog for one semester, problems are still existing. First, blog is help me records my opinions and reflections during the study process, which require me to update the blog during study or design process. So a good time management is required. It’s not only for writing blogs, but also can improve other study work. Second, I think in future blogging experience, I need to add more idea about my own understanding, and read more relevant articles to enrich the contents of my blogs. Also, communicate with other people thorough blog comment is necessary, it require me to read other’s paper and also be motivated to discussed with each other about the different design ideas.

Writing blog is a very relax way to record my own ideas, and it also encourages me to think, which is of great help to my design process, and it makes me have a sense of achievement to present my own ideas to others. Writing a blog is a very good process of learning, and I will continue to attempt to present more ideas of my own.

Application of urban design in residential design




Previously, my concept to the residence design was the planning of external space of the residence area, because I learnt landscape architecture in the past, which focus on how to manage and plan the space beyond buildings, so that the external space and the building are combined into a complete community. This is the thinking of residential planning from the perspective of the thought of landscape architecture, but now I learn urban design, so I must break through the previous limited thinking frame, and think how to introduce urban planning into the planning of residential area, so as to help us get different design results.

With the development of society and economy and enriching of culture, the construction of residential area has been gradually transformed to the improving of life quality, and the demands of human beings themselves in society, culture, material and psychology have been emphasized, and the urban morphology and spatial environment must be combined in design technique, so the single landscape design is only limited to one aspect of design, while urban planning is used for the detailed planning and management of the residential area to establish a systematic residential frame.

In the design process of cohousing project, we place the residence area within the whole city for analysis and design and think of the position of the site in the urban infrastructure, so as to get the principle of community spatial layout. First, we analysis that the infrastructures, school, store and office etc. surrounding the site will have a promotion role to the community society, economy and sustainable development and make it convenient for the residences’ life. While the important facilities surrounding the community are reserved, and we reserve the original foot path to make it convenient for the residents and surrounding people to enter the cock wood freely. A mutually connected road network is provided in the community, so as to arrive at each place easily, while the community road is also connected to the original urban road system, making it convenient for the residents’ traveling. The urban infrastructures where the public transportation outside the residence area and surrounding walking can arrive also encourage people to select an environmental friendly way of traveling. The community street is controlled within an appropriate width, and trees are planted on both sides to create a good traveling environment for the pedestrians and bicycles. As the site for residents’ daily activity, leisure and communication, the community open space is distributed in the whole community, so that each resident can arrive at the public space conveniently. Each space is connected with road or landscape to form an open space network, promote the residents to participate in the outdoor activity, increase the community interaction and enrich the community life. In terms of building form, we arrange the common house of the cohousing at the main road of the entrance, to create a strong sense of space and sense of site, so that it can be seen upon entering the community and that the residents can reach it in the fastest way. The house types within the community include cohousing, social houses and private houses to meet the different demands of different population groups, while each house keeps its own private space in the front and at back, which does not only ensure the privacy of the residential, but also brings a large development space for the residents.

To apply the urban design in the residential design, it is required to establish a perfect community system from spatial pattern, traffic system, open space and building form, which can help to improve people’s living quality.


Picture source:


Understand design in the design process of cohousing



Figure 1. Source : Atlanta Web Design

As an international student, I deeply feel the difference of the Chinese and western cultural ideas from life to academic research. After graduating from university, I worked for one year, mainly contacted the business plan design, now I return to the university in Britain for further study, and in the transition of these different processes, I had different opinions to design in each stage, and also had different thoughts and attitudes to design.

I have always been thinking that city is an interesting and wonderful thing. We use our own idea and paintbrush to design and modify the whole city, so as to create a better living environment for the human beings. I think design serves people, and all designs start from people’s demand and desire to achieve a perfect effect. In this term, we begin to design the cohousing community project, and I find that human is not the only subject to be considered, because in the process of design, we must consider many other factors, for example, how to blend with the environment surrounding the site, and the treatment of natural environment and biological environment of the original site. Design does not mean to change the environment to adapt to the development and use of human beings, but it is to achieve the sustainable development of human beings and environment, and this is what we should think in the current process of design.

After the case study before design the detail, I found that the initial purpose of the cohousing was to make people live in a better community and help residents to create a happy life, but in the process of continuous development and improvement later, cohousing has become a new trend of sustainable development, because it reasonably solves the problem of sustainable development. The living concept of cohousing is let private resident centered on the common house to sharing community resources is an effective way to reduce the resources consumption and optimize the energy efficiency, so as to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

Figure 2: Landscape design plan in China20130717043306278


In the process of design, according to the socioeconomic conditions of Hexham, we designed three different types of houses, cohousing, social houses and private houses to meet the different housing demands of the local residents. In the treatment of outdoor space, in British they relatively stress the simple and freeway, and they pay more attention to the utility and guidance of the site, and more importantly, they create an appropriate public space according to the environment, but not to change the current status to achieve the purpose. On the contrary, in the business plan design of China, the designers and consumers pursue the external image excessively, and they often are more willing to spend more money and time meticulously building many different landscapes to enrich the public space of the community, for example, large spray fountain, meticulous sculpture and expensive decoration materials, now it seems that these landscapes of gorgeous appearances do not attract people to more participate in the outdoor activities, on the contrary, those meticulously trimmed lawns are prohibited to be stepped, while the high expenses behind the meticulous design, including the later maintenance and repair fees are borne by the residents, and this increases the living burden of the residents while the residents do not enjoy the outdoor space very well.

Therefore, in the study and design of different projects, include cohousing, nantes project and other design work. I deeply think and study the design concepts which I did not know previously, and it helps me understand design better and learn how to consider the design for different projects from different perspectives.


Figure 1. Source:

Figure 2: Landscape design plan in China. Source:


Understanding Cohousing and design a cohousing for old people



Figure 1 source:The Cohousing Company McCamant & Durrett Architects

Cohousing is a living area built by the residents who work together, and the residents themselves will actively participate in the design, construction and management of the whole community. The residents of cohousing are blended into the whole community life consciously, while the physical design of the community encourages the communication of individual space and community. In the cohousing community, the private houses contain all basic functions of the conventional houses, and the residents also have the opportunity to get the outdoor public facilities, like an open community space. In order to save the resources and indoor space, the community is also provided with public laundry room, storage house to reduce the resource burden of private residences.

Cohousing was started in Denmark in the 1960s, from then on, the design concept of “living community” has been rapidly spread globally, and this new type of living form has been widely accepted by everyone. Mccamant and Durrett (2011) proposed that cohousing is a typical demonstration community in the new field of sustainable development, and they made great success in achieving the sustainable development of environment, society and economy. I understand there are some typical features include in cohousing project through case study and field trip to Lancaster cohousing project.

Being closed to the traffic network makes it convenient for the residents to travel, and encourages them travel in green and environmental manner. The advanced frame technology is applied to achieve the minimum use of timber, and the solar azimuth is analyzed to consider the utilization of natural lighting and solar energy. Various new, environment-friendly and sustainable materials are also applied in the house construction, while the outdoor land use design also meets the demand of people’s community activities. And community garden also needed in community life.


Figure 2: Hexham community engagement event

Source: (Alina Pavolva, 2015)

In the cohousing project we design, we want to design a cohousing community for the old people. When we investigated Hexham, we found that the local population is aged, the young people are not around the old people, and the ole people will feel lonely and are lack of care, while the senior cohousing community provides an opportunity for the old people to get together, enhance the mutual exchange and makes the old people can care each other, maintain vitality and health. Therefore, from the demand of the old people, we first considered many types of houses for selection, like one bedroom houses, two bedroom houses and three bedroom houses for big family. and keep all designs destination can be simply used and accessible. After the preliminary plan, we went to Hexham again to joined in Hexham community engagement event,communicate and discussed with local people on their different understandings and ideas to the residential design, and I mainly discussed with them on the opinion of outdoor landscape design. In the meeting, many ideas of the local residents were clear and expressed directly, making me collect a lot of useful information. I thought some of their opinions carefully and applied them in the design. I understand that the most important in design is to consider what groups of people will use the land, how to use it and how to make people use it happily, so as to improve the quality of the whole living environment by connected the indoor and outdoor space connection.



Durrett, C. & McCamant, K. (2011), “Cohousing and Community: Creating Co-housing”, New Society Publishers, Canada.


Figure2: Alina Pavolva, 2015

Visit a cohousing project —Lancaster cohousing scheme


Source: Author’s Own

The best way to understand a new thing is the visit site. In this term, we conduct the cohousing project design. After the teacher introduced the design concept of cohousing, we had a field trip to the cohousing community of Lancaster. Which located in Halton beside river Lune. It’s called Fragebank and it is a cohousing project of private houses, common house, work shop, studios and shared outdoor space.

Cohousing is a new type of residence development form, which well combines the private residence with the advantages of sharing public facilities, and strengthens the neighboring relation (McCamant and Durrett 2011). The purpose of such cooperative neighborhoods is to organize and manage the social interaction and individual space by the residents themselves in a planned manner.


Source: Author’s Own

Lancaster cohousing project is a good example for this. First, this project provides many residence forms for different groups of people to select, it have 1 bed flats, 2 bed and 3bed houses. And all houses are distributed on both sides of the main sidewalk, and the internal structure of the house is reasonable to maximize the utilization of space. One of the characteristics of cohousing is to move the same family living facilities to the common house, for example, to establish a public storage room, laundry and guest house, which reduces the space occupancy within the private house, saves space and energy. In order to maintain a stability and good horizon, the back of the house faces the river bank, making people better enjoy the living space and feel a good outdoor environment.

Common house


Source: Author’s Own

The common house is in the center of the site, which is helpful for the residents to visit the public facilities. Interestingly, it divides the kitchen area and storage house, management room and children’s room into two, respectively distributed on both sides of the main street of the community, and both sides are connected through the application of ground materials. Also there added a transparent canopy, making it more beneficial for the connection of two spaces. The sidewalk in the middle is the inevitable road for most of the residents in daily life, and this will encourages people to go out of their private space and participate in the community activity. The common house is mainly consists of the large public kitchen and dining area, and there is public community terrace outside, where can enjoy the scenery of river side. By the way, we are allowed to use the common kitchen to made food together in the lunch time,this was a very good experience, making us feel how people lived and communicate in the cooperative community.

Work shop


Source: Author’s Own

There is a big work shop located in the entrance of the community which have carpenter room, art room and other various rooms of different functions in the studio, and it provides computer, machine and other public facilities. This studio encourages the exchange of resources, facilities and ideas, and provides the community residents with more community activities, thus enriching the residents’ life and strengthening the community interaction.

This project is a cutting-edge example of sustainable design and living, which will encourage other sustainable community development as an implementation example and inspiration, and will connect other communities to drive the surrounding communities to establish a sustainable living environment together.


Cohousing and Community, Creating Co-housing, McCamant, Durrett 2011

Lancaster Cohousing


Figure 1,Figure 2,Figure 3,Figure 4: Author’s Own



A brief summary of “Cohousing and Community: The Secret Ingredients to Sustainability”


Cohousing communities are collaborative communities. They are the new trend in housing development and good model for sustainable community development at large. They achieve sustainability in environmental, social, and economic which make them succeed in sustainable. Cohousing not only includes green buildings, renewable energy systems, and use of sustainable material, but also make residents come together to share resources and learn some positive knowledge of sustainability. It is an effective way to reduced consumption by design optimizing energy efficiency and make more sustainable lifestyle.

Cohousing solved some development problem to promote a sustainable neighborhood. They provide small scale houses in safe, car-free, walkable neighborhoods. Most cohousing communities are easy access which close to town center and public transportation. And many cohousing communities also build work space and some basic facilities for residents working and living better. However, cohousing communities make maximum utilization of the limited land and surrounding area to build intergenerational communities.


Cohousing projects through a significant breakthrough in energy efficiency and resource conservation within an acceptable budget that cohousing residents can reap the benefits by cost-saving and environment-saving. And cohousing buildings are more sustainable by building in some special materials or the science method, such as sustainable harvested lumber and flooring materials, passive heating and cooling, previous paving to increase water absorption and so on.

Cohousing development advocate “small can be better” that means smaller houses can satisfy the resident’s demand and cohousing residents can get more common facilities. More importantly, this measures will help build a sustainable environment that is more resourceful and less consumptive. Residents are participate in design process of cohousing communities, so they can learn and educate each other sustainable measures during build their own communities. Cohousing is a safer, livable and enjoyable environment which provide private houses and public place for all the residents include adults and children. The sustainable system can help they save more money and enjoy a better living place, and it also advantage for neighborhoods have more social activities.


Author hope cohousing will continue develop in other cities around the world. Cohousing is an efficient way to reuse the existing resources and bring new people and activities to existing communities. It create living sustainability environment through redevelopment existing buildings and depend on public transportation and city’s basic structure.



Cohousing and Community, Creating Co-housing, McCamant, Durrett 2011


Writing a blog


Writing blog is a completely new experience for me. Previously, I read others’ blogs from the perspective of a reader and had never thought of writing a blog about my idea and opinion. Most of the social networks we contact usually are the light blogs tending to share life feelings or the interesting things, while the purpose of this blog is to make us discuss the learning. We understand our ordinary knowledge, and then share our ideas and feelings with everyone by writing blog, and this is a process of joint learning.

Writing blog can better help me rethink the class contents, refer to relevant materials according to different design concepts and understand more relevant knowledge. For each blog, I would prudently think whether the opinion is correct or not, find out the key entry point and express my ideas to the readers correctly. This requires me learn how to think, how to combine my professional knowledge theory with my ideas and find out the case to support my opinion. Only when understanding the key point really can I write a good blog, and this is a process of feedback of class knowledge, beneficial to improve my study initiative. The experience “blog” also can well record my study process and change my way of learning, because I study in another environment, the collision of different thinking modes of China and the west requires me to experience and study carefully.

All classmates express their unique opinion on design on the internet. By reading their blogs, I find that each person has different opinions and perspectives of thinking, and the classmates are from different countries and professional backgrounds, which is quite helpful to the study of urban design major, because everyone has different life backgrounds, the ways to understand the urban design are also different, and sometimes, we can discuss the urban development, culture and life in different areas in the world, and I think this is one of the most interesting experiences.

This is a platform of study and communication, a place to output and accept knowledge and opinion. By writing blogs, I can learn different opinions, find out my shortcomings, communicate with those also interested in urban design on study experience and help me understand design better. Writing blog is a very good learning method. I will write more opinions on design, improve my thinking modes and ideas, so that more people will see my opinions reflected in the blog.


Design of neighborhoods in China



From the beginning of human civilization, people have never stopped pursuing living environment and urban construction. As science and technology civilization developed, the city has been built better and better, streets, buildings, green park and residential area formed a whole city. The most basic form of people living is a neighborhood and neighborhoods in different forms and in different sizes make up the entire city. We can say the neighborhood is the basic component of a city.



End of the nineteenth century, English sociologist and designer Ebenezer Howard introduced a new method of urban planning “Garden City”. “Garden City” combines the city’s high efficiency, highly active city life and beautiful rural scenery, trying to get rid of the plight faced by urban development, which is a city designed for health, life and production that is able to meet people’s rich daily social life. With the planning and construction of Welwyn Garden City near London and a series of garden villages and garden cities at the beginning of the early twentieth century, the ideal of “garden city” has become a reality. The current neighborhoods design follows several principles, such as walking distance is controlled within 400 meters, have a clear center and identifiable edges, mixture of people and land use, and the control of streets size. These design concepts and principles have been widely applied to the neighborhoods design of various regions in the country; according to local conditions, the development fits for the local community.



However, in developing countries like China, the theory and ideology of “neighborhoods design” has not been widely accepted and promoted. Since ancient times, China has its own theory of urban construction and development, especially in the residential neighborhoods. The Chinese traditional living form is “walled enclosed” and “closed courtyard”, and people’s living tradition is isolating living space from external environment with a wall, forming introverted life courtyard.



And now, the neighborhoods building in China has become commercial gradually, construction companies are trying to get the city’s best location, and then build high quality residential neighborhoods, in order to obtain high returns. In the process, the developers often do not take into account the overall coordination of the city development, and do not follow the principles of neighborhoods design to develop sustainable neighborhoods. In my opinion, the city streets in China are made of different commodity neighborhoods or residential apartments, and each individual is completely independent and has their own style and mode of development that all are developing by depending on the urban commercial center as the center. In contrast to principle of neighborhoods design that the scope is controlled within walking 400 meters, in many cities, due to growing demand for urban development, the city limits are constantly expanding to the surrounding, which often leads to the situation that many neighborhoods share a regional center within the range of a large region. All neighborhoods are isolated from the outside world with fences and guards to ensure the safety of residents, so neighborhoods are individuals of relatively independent presence. The roads in neighborhoods and urban roads are isolated by walls into two road systems, and usually only residents are allowed to use the roads in neighborhoods. Neighborhoods road system is not integrated into the urban road system, and urban road often change its development model because of the presence of neighborhoods, making the entire urban road system is forced to change around the shape of neighborhoods.

In short, because of China’s own national conditions and development, the theory of neighborhoods design not applicable in China. We can base on design principles, combined with the development requirements of the city itself, identify the suitable development model.


Howard, Ebenezer, Author’s Introduction and The Town-Country Magnet,  The City Reader, pp.328-335.

Miao Xu and Zhen Yang, 2009, Design history of China’s gated cities and neighbourhoods: Prototype and evolution, Urban Design International 14 (2), pp. 99-117

The Awareness and Development of Urban Agriculture in Different Regions


Food shortage has always been a big problem for the whole world. Although now technology is making progress and productivity is gradually improving, the growing food consumption still cannot be satisfied. At present, the world population has reached 7 billion, and this number continues growing and people who suffering hunger account for 8.27 hundred million which are mostly concentrated in developing countries and Asian countries have the largest number of hungry people. People have been trying to solve this problem all the time, such as the research and develop for new varieties, increase yield and reclaim more planting land, etc. In some cities of the developed countries, a new type of agriculture– Urban Agriculture emerges as the time requires. This term, our research direction for city regeneration is also the Urban Agriculture. Urban Agriculture is to develop the plant growth and cultivation as well as animal feeding to the cities, combined with the city developments to provide food for the city residents. The aim is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system to achieve physically, economically and socially integrated. 800 million urban residents are actively engaged in urban agriculture.

In cities, people try to find free city lands to develop urban agriculture, roofs, balconies, residential gardens, community green spaces are all available and which are easy for accessing and developing of urban agriculture. In different countries and regions, the ways and the effects of urban agriculture development are not the same; the main difference lies in the developing countries and developed countries.


In developed countries, people are very positive and happy to participate in the development of urban agriculture; many cities already have relatively perfect agricultural system which can correctly and effectively guide people to carry out agricultural production. Just like Bristol use public garden and community garden to build a food network in the whole city. Every part of land have a different role in network systems. And they encourage people to take part in their work or find their interested garden. Furthermore, they also organize many activities to let more people know they, such as Bristol Food Connections Festival, Bristol’s Get Growing Garden Trail which is help people to get involved in the gardening projects through some interesting activities. If you are interested about this project, you can find more information on their website.


On the contrary, in developing countries, the reason why people began to personally plant food is mostly because of worrying about food safety, so they grow green vegetables to meet the basic needs of their daily life. The biggest limitation in developing countries is that people can seldom find a wide range of land to provide support for the development of urban agriculture; most people can only choose on a balcony or roof to plant a small range of food, and the most important is that the urban agriculture awareness has not been fully popularized. The centre of the whole city development is economic development and to accelerate the city constructions; residents are fighting for their own life, and they have no concept of urban agriculture development. So to develop urban agriculture, we need the government to formulate relevant policies to encourage people to actively participate in the urban agriculture development, and vigorously give publicity to the benefits brought by urban agriculture as well improve the enthusiasm of the masses.

Urban agriculture not only can effect urban economic development, but also help environmental improvement. It can reduce food costs to improve quality of life, and provide health food, health eating and health life style. Moreover, urban agriculture will increase opportunity of employment and entrepreneurship, it is a new skill for residents and an education base for students. It can improve the social stability and cohesion to form social integration.

Culture and Art in the Urban Regeneration



The modern development cities are mostly industrial cities which began the large-scale development in late nineteenth Century. Till now, a lot of cities, especially regions which supported by traditional industries, began to experience economic and political decline, and the city developments cannot keep up the progress of the times, they gradually step on the edge of elimination. Cities facing recession are bearing the pressure of complex economic, social, physical environment, ecological environment and financial problems, they have to not any handle the traditional industries inherited from the past, at the same time, they also have compete for a new round of investment and economic growth. This directly led to global development of the urban regeneration.

In which, the culture and art get more and more attention in the city regeneration, creative industries related to visual, culture and concept have become one of the main features of the world economy. This reminds me of the Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord designed by a famous designer Peter Latz who is a German landscape architect and a professor for landscape architecture at the Technical University of Munich this reconstruction project is a typical example that the industrial waste is rebuild into a new art.





The project located in the Ruhr Area in Germany which is one of the most striking part of IBA Emscher Park and also is the best known projects of Peter Latz. The site of 230 hectares was formerly a very large steel mill. Although it were once useful in history, it cannot resist the decline of industry. So it closed in 1985, many old industrial buildings and structures merged into the weeds. Government had decided to rebuild it to a public park which is belong to IBA Emscher Park in 1989.

At the beginning of planning, the most critical problem faced by designers is the things left by these factories and how to integrate these useless structures into today’s life and park’s landscape. With rational and clear design idea, Latz is intended to deal with this fragmented section in an ecological way. The development and design of Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord Park confirm four basic ecological guidelines:

1.Reserve the structures. The structures of factory are reserved and partial structures are given new functions.

2.Reuse the scrapped material. For example, bricks are collected as aggregate of red concrete and coal, ore sand and metals are used as medium of the growth of plants.

3.Recycle the water. The treated sewage and collected rainwater are diverted to the original cooling tank and settling pond of factory and then flow into Emscher River after clarification and filtering.

4.Respect and improve local ecosystem. The vegetation in the factory is reserved, the wild grass ground is allowed to grow freely and the coking plant and both sides of rail are overgrown with silver birch and willow. The vegetation of park is an organic combination of high-quality indigenous breed and exotic breed.



The park is divided into four landscape parts. First, by combining the elevated footpath, Rail Park creates a commanding height, establishes contact between downtown, enhances the urban communication and highlights the open function. Second, waterscape layer is set at the ground floor of park and the original wastewater discharge channel is used to collect rainwater. Third, all kinds of bridges and walkways in the park form the road system together. Fourth, the use district of different functions and unique parks are independent systems.

The handling method is to seek for the new explanation of these old landscape structures and elements, rather than conceal these fragmented landscape, and learn to understand the past industry, rather refuse them. After transformation design, this abandoned factory now changed into a lively park for people, and a culture symbol for local culture.


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