A New Model for the Urban-rural Fringe in Jiangsu Province

PI: Adele Naude Santos (Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT)


China’s extraordinary economic boom has gone hand-in-hand with an unprecedented scale of urbanization that has strained infrastructure, ecology, housing conditions, health, and other important components of Chinese cities. As of March 2014, China’s leadership has outlined a new form of urbanization that calls for a balance between the development of small cities, small towns, and new rural communities, with a focus on urban-rural coordination. This requires a new model for intensive, yet economical and environmentally sensitive, development in the urban-rural fringes. MIT researchers are collaborating closely with faculty from Nanjing’s Southeast University to design and develop pilot projects in the urban-rural fringe of Jiangsu Province that seek to support common prosperity and stability alongside sustainability and livability. The research process will move from historic and geographical contextualization to case studies, concept development, and ultimately implementation. Project outcomes include a combination of research and design documentation: case studies documenting a range of approaches to urban-rural fringe development across the globe, a series of alternative models for urban-rural fringe development documented in a highly- visual report, and a conceptual master plan that applies the new development principles to a specific site in Jiangsu Province.