Some Experience of The Blog Writting


In this semester, I had a great experience by making process in cohousing and landscape urbanism programs, and also by witting this blog about the thoughts and experience of urban design.
Actually I began writting a blog since last semester, and especially for the theme of my subject. In the progress of cohousing and landcape urbanism design making, we read a lot of books, articles, and of course case studies. And I used those experience and knowledge on the posts, to enhance my design thesis and experiences, which I found it is so useful.
In addition, I read all the blogs from my classmates, and their posts are amazingly various range from drawing to experiences, and from those case studies I can certainly get a lot of things that maybe I haven’t thought about and looked about. Also, we left our comments on each other’s posts, and anyone who saw that can build up a conversation easily by lefting comments, which may become a debate or discuss, and this form of interaction is one of what the blog meaning to us.
About the images and diagrams that I used in posts and what in my peers’ blogs, I found they are extremely useful to understanding the theme and points of posts, and a easy way to explain how this article going to tell a story. The diagrams especially, cleared and simplified the tough thesis, and those diagrams are the model of our study.
For those references, I need to say that is a very brilliant way to keep the Harvard system, and this not only can make our posts professional, but also a way of respect authors of our references, as well as for those sources of images. I think we should keep this habit for further writing.
To sum up, this blog writing means a lot to me. The theses, diagrams, images, as well as references, are very useful for my present and future, and it is a better way of keeping it for a long time.

Cohousing: Social Interaction target


More and More countries and places are supporting the development of more sustainable neighborhood, more activity means more livable. Besides, neighborhoods can help the redevelopment of local society. Social interaction will bring the knowledge of residents, and social structure. Also, this will make residents build up the trust with each other, and make the conversation begin and enhance the social network connection. So it is very important that the new residential neighbourhoods are designed with the point of increasing social connection.

Source: Source:
Cohousing provides a very useful model of anlysis for its design with social contact and formal social stuctures to encourage residential neighborhood social interaction, such as community management and communal activity organizations, and decision making processes.
The design approach used in cohousing also adopts most of the architectural and urban design principles identified in the literature as being crucial to high levels of social interaction in neighbourhoods (for example higher densities, good visibility, clustering, inclusion of defensible space and car parking on the periphery of communities, etc.). Thus, cohousing also provides an opportunity to study the implementation of all of these principles together to determine which are key or less important in
terms of encouraging social interaction.
The management of indoor communal facilities was also shown to influence usage and social interaction. The exclusion of residents from communal facilities for private events was highlighted in both communities as being a factor that reduced social interaction, as it created conflict and lowered use of communal facilities by those who were excluded. Poor maintenance of communal spaces wasalso shown to reduce use and social interaction.



More and More countries and places are supporting the development of more sustainable neighborhood, more activity means more livable. Besides, neighborhoods can help the redevelopment of local society. Social interaction will bring the knowledge of residents, and social structure. Also, this will make residents build up the trust with each other, and make the conversation begin and enhance the social network connection. So it is very important that the new residential neighbourhoods are designed with the point of increasing social connection.
Resident participation in decision-making processes is thought to increase levels of social interaction within communities and thus strengthen social networks. However, the research showed that in both communities resident involvement in the decision-making processes had also created conflict. Design decisions had created some of the biggest conflicts in both communities.

Jo Williams (2005) Designing Neighbourhoods for Social Interaction: The Case of Cohousing, Journal of Urban Design, 10:2, 195-227

Case Study of Landscape Urbanism


Landscape Urbanism has a long time track that from 1880s to 1970s, from green urbanism to limited planning, as well as today being as a strong theory that changing private focus to public. Landscape Urbanism for me means the taking public space as the starting point instead architectural massing. In addition, Landscape Urbanism also means the way using landscape to design. Last but not the least, Landscape Urbanism means change traditional planning theory into making public space as the main carrier instead of the spare space that crossing buildings and constructions.

The case I would like to talk about is Lower On Lands project in Toronto. It contains an ambitious plan, a comprehensive urban design development that based on ecology, and designed a landscape framework that including big and small parks, integral connections and wildlife space.


To make the post-industrial site of Lower Don Lands re-blend into the city it needs the determination to face the environmental, social and economical challenge directly. The estuary is the connecting point with two adjacent places, and inspired by this, MVVA design team reconsidered the relationship between city and the environment. So they designed a space with three important sites that makes this theme to be unique.


A large space of wetland park will occupy the core of new neighborhood development, through the change of typography, wide sight, and leisure will be the supplement of the high dense city. The large scale of change will highly improve the function of ecological and water feature. The whole plan improved landscape is the most effective reconciliation for urban ordering system and ecological economic block.


So the whole plan of Lower Don Lands will be developed a series of blocks that formed by river and harbors. This target is aiming to build up a exciting place to live and work, in this place, city, park, harbor and river will be the unique identity. Commercial, cultural and working spaces, public realm, water feature, different scale of parks will form this space.
However, what we need for Landscape Urbanism is making enough space for design. Landscape Urbanism should agree the potential of design, not being blind for ambitious. Also we need to change the arbitrary prejudice that all big projet is planning, all small project is design. So after we changed our mind, we can draw the conclusion that Landscape Urbanism can actually fully contain design and be presented by design. However, I think the important point is that nature also need planning and design, and we can not exclude the countryside and nature of Landscape Urbanism.
Image source:
Reference:Rachel Gleeson. Toronto’s Lower Don Lands. TOPOS, VOL. 73. 2011
Thorbjörn Andersson. Landscape Urbanism Versus Landscape Design. TOPOS, VOL. 71., 2010.

The Craneshaugh Cohousing Design

In the process of designing cohousing this site of Hexham, I had a lot of experience to share.

Hexham is a beautiful city which basically has both historical buildings and constructions with British modern architectures. People who living there are friendly and their income is shortly over the average level. Senior age level group of residents are about 20 percent, and this is a large occupation of population. This craneshaugh site, has a tricky typography with 13 meters height difference from north to south side, and it is not a flat ground from east to west. The Cockwood land actually became a shadow of sunlight on the south side of the site, and public transportation there are not very convenient.


source: Hexham (UK) Nothumberland postcode +NE46/@54.968475,-2.0725046,395m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x487d90620d319815:0xa83a2b78210dc004


Before we started, I have no idea of what is cohousing. In my cultural background, we have affordable housing for rent to those people who have needs, and they need to que for sign to live in those houses, besides, the form of these kind of housing are apartments. So after the visit of Lancaster cohousing site, me and my colleague finally get some point of the definition of cohousing, and agree deeply of this form of housing will largely enhance the opportunity of social interaction.




After the baseline analysis presentation, my partner got much more information about Hexham, such as social economic and historical background, and about cohousing, too. So based on those information we had, we decide to utilize this typography to have its unique identity, and also for mixed type of housing.






So we beginning to think out the appropriate road system, right housing types, and the most important, the unique typography that can contain these together.

After some tutorials, we finally made some progress that we will use blocks with natural way of roads to form a different neighborhood. Of course, we also designed large and small open and green spaces that may connect the different communities together as a whole, and share those facilities for making more social interaction of the whole site. We like to make residents love to live this kind of neighborhood, and getting more support from each other.




I have learnt a lot of things from my partner, and also from this program. Team work and hard working fulfilled this semester.

Trip To Lancaster Cohousing


On the trip to Lancaster, all I know about cohousing is like a kind of affordable housing that contributed by some social organizations. But when we got and had a chat with people who living in there, I had a feeling that all of those residents are like a big family, they choose to live there not just because of lower rent, they also share different facilities and resources, and have much more social communication with each other than the modern neighborhoods that we are living now. After the quick browse of different function of rooms, for example, kids’ room, laundry room, we made ourselves a great meal in the big common house. A lot of residents came to share the food, and they are so familiar with each other.


The most interesting thing is that I found out they have a food store that you can buy some seasoner, and residents share the duty by writing on a board. This is one of the ways to getting more foundation to develop the community.


Also, in another building, we were showed some large space workshop, offices, art and music studios, etc. This building is funded by the company named Green Elephant. A lot of people can actually work and enjoy themselves by using the amazing facilities and rooms, and they pay some rent, which can be another way that contribute to development. The atmosphere is quiet and full of creation.



For the space that I looked, they share some parking spaces before the river, and the front yards are giving by very narrow space for putting stuff, but their back yard is beautiful and open, they can put the children toys on the ground, and the fences you can hardly see. When we looked at the inside of one of the houses, the space of living room and bedroom are quite enough and comfortable. They also have terraces for first floor and outdoor platform on ground floor to enjoy the air and nature which have contained the privacy and public needs in every houses.


I have learnt a lot of cohousing by this trip, and I will use these experience into our cohousing project.

Images took by Yun Zhang, 2015

Reflection of The Blog



I have to say, the blog is a totally new experience for me. I haven’t had a chance to express my ideas about what I have learnt, or what I have seen. It is so interesting for me to make my own choice of which topic or theme that I would like to share with my colleague or people who have the same interests. I really want to that school give us the chance of it.
About the process of me posting, I would like to describe it as a tired but with so much fun work, cause the time and power you spend on is not less than our project in this semester. It is not just a recall process on the lecture before, but also a chance to enlarge our field of professional knowledge, and a precious chance to discuss with people from different background. When I searching the useful information on the website, I can learn so much things from the definition to other branches that related to the theme.
We come from so different backgrounds and experience which make us use different ways of thinking, even for the same topic, the comments that they gave me are the precious for me to absorb.
The difficulties that many people afraid of to become a blogger are not so hard as you think, and they can be conquered by your rich knowledge and unique experience that nobody can copy from. I can feel I am stronger through posting my articles, and I really like my posts are well-discussed. If they are not agree my idea, that is totally fine and I happy to discuss and learn more things from others as well. I can feel I am more confidents when I started writing this blog.
Giving other people’s comments are also very interesting. You can be critic about other people’s post, and give them your idea and opinion through the evidence that you have found. That may become a longer conversation, but everyone seems so happy about each other.
In next semester, I would like to say I will continue doing my work, and make it better. Theory is also an inevitable aspects when we are studying design. My blog post will add something unique,
such as personal experience, the photo took by myself, and I will try hard to broaden my
sight to touch and feel different urban patterns. It is a great way to practice how to express myself to others correctly, and of course a good way to learn English. I hope that I could free more freedom when I post in next semester.
I am appreciate this blog, and it is going to be another way to introduce myself on my studying time. I will try my best to write more blogs next time.22-37-19-76-1

The Landscape urban that comes from Landscape Urbanism


In the past ten years, a new theory about city and urban design – landscape urbanism has been argued and became popular among the students in the north America and European landscape and urban design area. The main focusing point of landscape urbanism is landscape but not architecture that can be more capable to determine the typography and experience of the city. This idea made landscape design to the frontage of urban design, and that can be think as a re-discovery of landscape design. Beside, more interesting point is that it was developed by architects.

City is intensified by the forces of nature in the earth’s surface effect “uplift” and form, which is a concrete manifestation of natural process. Landscape urbanism all existing objects on the earth (natural or artificial) and its status and spatial summation of visual reading for the continuation of the spread of the landscape. This landscape is not only green scenery or natural space, more of a continuous surface structure, a kind of ” Thickened Ground “. As a kind of can exercise the function of the cascading structure, the ground of “thickening” to “sink”, “make up” across dynamic event and process, and can provide maximum contact, interaction, exchange, accumulation and dispersion, the possibility of mixing and into each other.

The case that FOA completed in 2007 of 2007 m2 in Istanbul, Turkey Meydan commercial center, is the a successful case in integrated architecture and field landscape.


The project from a three-dimensional multifaceted perspective, with sufficient emphasis on using the natural topography, such as city form, make the structure of the form no longer abrupt, instead it is the continuation of a city and the surrounding surface associated in the public space. Visitors can pass by not only through the central plaza, conveniently to the underground parking lot, shops and even roof garden on the floor; At the same time, because of the large area of building roof and surrounding streets are linked together, visitors can also be through the roof to the city in all directions. Meydan is no longer the traditional commercial square, because it offers visitors is not only a shopping experience, but a exchange hub. Here ” Thickened Ground ” represents an integrated shopping, entertainment, leisure, even traffic function of multidimensional system composition of landscape field, not only save the land, more fully embodies the “sense of place” and “place spirit”.



Reference: Landscape Urbanism, by Kongjian Yu, Available at

Image Recource:


Urban Regeneration: Integrated Culture and History


With the global cities industrial structure adjustment and the coming of post-industrial era at the end of 1920s, the growing enthusiasm for human heritage protection and attention, the concept of sustainable urban development led to the reflection of urban environmental problems etc. Many European cities contained their “fault” of different time, such as Lyons in Italy, which from ancient Rome to the Renaissance of cities’ features are preserved. In Paris, the different historical period of building harmonious coexistence and modern city.

In fact, the city always faces the challenge of reservation and elimination, renew and decay. City is essentially a dynamic organism metabolism. The gradient of time in the city is inevitable, but the key problem is how to deal with the relationship between the “new” and “old”, how to grasp the relationship between the city cultural heritage, history continuation and development of social economy, the relationship between these two is what have been the focus of the “urban regeneration”.


In the case of the regeneration of industrial estate of Granville Island, Canada, one of the most signally features is that the past industrial buildings were preserved, and changed to characteristic landscape, which also united the new architectural on the same style. The composition of multifunction have played an important role in attracting tourists. Now there are hostels, theatres, a large scale of CBD, various interesting local shops, parks, etc. The most interesting one is the walking path with strong historical culture.


On Granville Island, the main residential district is in the central part of the area, and connected with surroundings through many paths and roads. Besides, the designers built up the space of architectures that followed the scene, and preserved original industrial constructions, and designed with the same pattern of culture and history. They made the decoration of crane rail and pipe, and even the ship tail rotor as an ornament. These industrial elements with buildings together formed the strong historical atmosphere, which made people are more likely to experience the traces of history.

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Jianguo Wang, available at

A anonymous author, available at

Image recourse:

Gated Community: Safety or Not?


When we talking about the future trend of community design, one of the patterns is enjoying its popularity, which is gated community. Gated neighborhoods seems could give residents the sense of security, their style are easy to be copied, which can save a lot of costs. However, there are still some shortcomings of this kind of developing style.

Actually gated community does not only happened in developing countries, but also popular in many other countries all over the word, and now as a trend that may meeting the acquirements of market. Besides, there are a lot of features, or we can call it themes that may add on the gated community. Some of them can be equipped with tradition elements, such as Vanke Fifth Garden in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China, property developer gave these gated communities a theme from Chinese traditional architectural and landscape pattern to make them more attractive, but those housing price are also rising from it.


Gates provide security and separation for the leisure activities and amenities within the life style communities. In Sunbelt areas in America, such as southern California and Florida, this pattern of community remains most common but also can be found through the country. Residents’ primary motivation of choice is recreational facilities provided, such as golf, and security is the a secondary reason. But the main reason for people to choose to live in gated community is the sense of security, but the fact is that the evidence of crime rate varied by area but not between gated and ungated neighborhoods in the same area. The “sense of security” seems does not have any impact on crime. Besides, even some of those security guards are not taking this work seriously. Some of the residents even believed those sense of security too much and leave their doors and windows opened when they are not present.

The Survey of the Perception of Gates as a Factor in Reducing Crime360截图20150107223131924

Another effect I would like to talk about is gated community is one of the factor that speed up social fragmentation. The case from Jehova’s Witnesses tells us some of the neighborhoods guards ignored the require of visitors’ access. The actions like these stopped the communication with the world outside, and makes the society became separated apart.


Blakely, E.J, and M.G. Snyder. “Separate Places: Crime and Security in gated sommunities.” In: M. Felson and R.B. Peister, Reducing crime through real estate development and management, pp. 53-70.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Win Access to Gated Communities, Lifeboat Morality, by Jim Newman, Available at

Images recource:

A New Type of Urban Agriculture: Rooftop Farm

value farm4


Dr. Suzanne talked about the definition of Urban Agriculture, it is different from landscape and planting for decoration but with some important connection with social, economical and of course, the physical aspects.

What’s more, the forms of urban agriculture are various. Not only the usage of green spaces, but also need to fit for the facade of cities. Nowadays we are facing the situation that having less room for open spaces, but there are still some creative ideas for us to use. In the case of Value Farm in Shenzhen, China, the designer successfully made the full use of flat roofs of the buildings, and made the idea spread to other cities and became bigger scales.

Floor Plan

Value Farm is based on post empty rooms and stores in industrial estate. As mentioned by designer, Value Farm is aiming to develop new value on wasted lands, and making farming on rooftop in Hong Kong as a type of living be spread into Shenzhen.

value farm5

Two aspects inspired the designer. The first one is comes from the trend of flourishing farming on the rooftop in urban area. Rooftop farm can not only improve the vertical greenery area of a city and reconnect urban citizen and natural planting, but also can provide more sustainable and safer food resource and the change of living attitude and style. The second inspiration is from the reconstruction of Graham Street market district in city center that with 170 years of history what changed the original urban structure. So generally speaking, the development of Value Farm is looking forward to digging up the history of Hong Kong, and cultivating a sustainable development future through rooftop farm.
value farm2    value farm3


The spaces are divided with bricks, different plants will be planted by the height of soil, the past lift district also became a open roof to fulfill the requirement of future actives. The water for irrigating is from local underground water source. This area also planned with space for children, projection and exhibition.

Referece: Value Farm / Thomas Chung, available at

Resource of pictures:

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