Taipu canal as a regional spine: a prototypical approach to territorial planning

Yuting Xie, Christian Nolf, Nannan Dong, Daixin Dai, Dou Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since 2018, the integrated regional development of the Yangtze River Delta has been subjected as a national strategy to intensify the interconnection between its cities. However, the questions of open space conservation and planning have so far remained essentially quantitative and strongly informed by regulatory and top-down principles. Focusing on the vast green heart between Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou, this design-driven research project hypothesizes that Taipu Canal can be upgraded from its current technical role into a civic spine that frames new developments and articulates the rich diversity of open spaces, ecosystems, historic water towns and villages. The research adopts a crossscale method of “contextual prototypes” that combines sampling, typological classification, and prototypical design explorations in pilot projects. A reflective phase zooms out to critically assess how these prototypical strategies can be systemized as structuring principles at the regional scale. The conclusion of the article discusses how this prototypical approach offers an opportunity to inductively complement the top-down Chinese territorial planning system, which needs to cope with increasingly complex conditions and vaster scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114
JournalLandscape Architecture Frontiers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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