Earlier this year, Professor Steffen Lehmann was successful with his grant to the British Council and National Natural Science Foundation of China to gain funding for organising a cutting-edge Researcher Links workshop in the Newton Fund programme. This workshop with 60 participants was held in Xi’an and the group of researchers has now returned back to Portsmouth, from China.
The workshop entitled “Insight: Integrated strategies for urban regeneration and resilience” was held from 27th to 29th June 2018 at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU).
A group of five researchers from the University of Portsmouth, led by Professor Steffen Lehmann, were joined by 15 other UK academics and by over 30 Chinese researchers from a range of universities and representatives from Xi’an municipality.
The city of Xi’an has over 12 million residents and is the capital of Shaanxi Province. Based on the close collaboration between Xi’an Jiaotong University and the University of Portsmouth (a MoU between both universities was signed in 2017), the researchers discussed over 3 days innovative urban strategies and solutions.
The aim is to build long lasting research collaborations, and foster relevant links between both countries to strengthen the research and innovation capacity for positive impact and sustainable urban growth.
The main aim of the INSIGHT workshop was to promote the international exchange of knowledge and experiences around novel theories, strategies and methods on urban regeneration, applying integrated strategies for inclusive growth, resource-efficiency and urban resilience. The applicants are all experts in the field of inclusive urban regeneration and resource efficiency.
The workshop included engagement activities that directly benefited the participants and wider academic community, including the knowledge shared and generated at the workshop for future public policy formulation and improved decision making.
Professor Lehmann said:
“In the last 25 years, China has experienced a phase of rapid urbanisation and has now entered a new era of urban development focused on urban regeneration. In 2017, at the 19th CPC National Congress, China’s major urban focus has changed towards ‘ecological transition’, as China is now facing the contradiction between inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing need for a better quality of life.
“Sustainable urbanisation has become a priority and therefore, the workshop was very timely. Specific topics addressed included: poverty alleviation through urbanisation; localising resilience strategies for brownfield sites; the circular economy; the One Belt-One Road strategy; and the ageing population (by 2025, 43 percent of all Chinese will be older than 60).”
Urban liveability has emerged as an important strategic indicator of the competitiveness of cities. Sustainable urbanisation is a research priority in both countries, China and the UK, and the workshop discussed and uncovered the required research knowledge and expertise to support the transformative process required by cities.
In 2018, Professor Steffen Lehmann is Distinguished Visiting Professorr at XJTU. The programme booklet of the Newton Fund Workshop can be found here.