China Talk Series

The China Talk Series is a multi-part lecture series about architecture, planning, and real estate in China.

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Professor Weiping WU, professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, gave an informative talk entitled Financing China's Urbanization on March 9, 2016.  Using statistical data, Professor Wu illustrated the context of Chinese local government’s fiscal system and demonstrated the mismatch between local government's revenues and expenditures. Comparing the financial approaches to financing infrastructure in China with other industrialized nations and developing countries, Professor Wu argued that the regime of local governments’ land financing is no longer feasible for municipal governments to rely on.  

On February 24, 2016, Professor Weizhen CHEN from the Department of Landscape Architecture of Tongji University gave a fascinating talk entitled The Real and The Imagined: Socially Responsible Real Estate in China, Context, Discourse and Practice.  First, Professor Chen provided an overview of the conceptual evolution of the idea of "socially responsible real estate" in China.  Second, she used three real estate projects as examples to demonstrate how the specificity of each study area and the objectives of key stakeholders, including government officials, developers, design teams, etc., has led to vastly different outcomes.

On February 17, 2016, Dr. Chengchuan TIAN, the director of the Division of Strategic Research and Planning, Department of Climate Change, NDRC, China, gave an enlightening talk on low carbon development projects in China. Given projected population growth and carbon emissions, Dr. Tian explained that low carbon urbanization is an integral part of creating an “innovative development path” for emerging economies that incorporates efficient carbon usage.

Dr. Ting Shao, a researcher on housing market and land institutions at the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council of China, gave a very informative talk on the “New Normal” of China’s housing development strategy. He set the stage for the talk by underscoring the importance of the real estate industry to China’s economy. The real estate industry’s close linkages to countless upstream and downstream industries (e.g. cement, mining, petroleum, steel) means that declines in the real estate industry will lead to non-trivial declines in China’s overall GDP (estimated on an order of 10:1). Currently we already see real estate investment declines dragging down China’s GDP growth rate.

On November 2 and 3, 2015, Mr. Jing Du and Dr. Xiaodong Wang of Topchain Real Estate visited MIT.  During their visit, they toured various departments and gave presentations on their work. On November 2, Mr. Du gave a talk entitled “The City and Me,” which provided a detailed overview of his experience in Chinese real estate development. 

On October 5, 2015, scholars from Tongji University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning joined MIT faculty to discuss socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship.  Moderated by Dr. Yu-Hung Hong, the director of the STL Lab, Tongji and MIT faculty were paired together to discuss issues related to human settlement, sustainable urban development strategy, and urban transportation and infrastructure in China.