China property market tightening to continue through 2011

Wang Shi, Chairman of  Vanke (China’a largest property developer) this week stated during the China Investment Summit that the market was tightening due to the Central Government’s tightening campaign and that the tightening had been effective. He also spoke about real estate prices cooling in a market that has been called a ridiculous bubble. Wang believes that the risks of a bubble mean that the tightening will continue into 2011. He also stated that he didn’t think China would get as bad as Dubai and his greatest statement from the Reuters article was “If the bubble bursts, Japan’s past will be China’s present.”

China’s property prices have been rising at an incredible rate over the last 2 years and not just in Shanghai and Beijing, but also in other cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Hong Kong and Hainan Island. Is this merely speculation or demand for housing? I think it is a mixture of both. There is market speculation that all property will rise no matter where it is in China however, there is also demand from first property buyers and those being relocated from farms and inner-city redevelopments.

Owning property is culturally seen as being successful and rich in China with many young people not marrying until the male has purchased property. This is becoming harder and harder in cities such as Shanghai were property continues to rise beyond 20,000CNY per square meter ($USD 3000) with the average in Shanghai announced this week as 21,146CNY per square meter.

I believe that demand and speculation will continue through 2011 in the China property market but will move more to the smaller cities as investors and home buyers see that the big tier-1 cities are just too expensive and look elsewhere for better value. The Central government will continue tightening and will also spur along economy with the ratification of the 12th 5 year plan.

Is Social Media now called ‘Social’? – I hope so

Current Social Media is about 4-5 years old depending on who you listen or follow but really didn’t start to gain traction until 2008. Over time its has been mostly referred to as Social Media but many people who are seen as the Social Media experts/gurus/advocates/insert your catchy name/  have not always been happy with the term Social Media as it really didn’t describe the arena of social interaction very well. People thought social media was just blogs or videos(youtube) or  facebook or twitter(micro-blogs) or gowalla (location based) platforms rather than the whole arena of social interaction.

Recently, I have noticed that many people in the Social Media industry have started referring to Social Media as ‘Social’ not in written form such as blogs but in podcasts and videos. Whether this is due to the recent movie about facebook called the Social Network or just a general evolution of  the terminology, only time will tell.  I hope it sticks because I personally don’t like the term Social Media I think its a little confusing in defining the numerous platforms that make up social interaction on the web.

What is a landscape architecture?

Landscape Architecture is the design of outdoor spaces (and often indoor spaces) through the integration of the environment, design, art, science, economy and sociology. It involves the understanding ecologically, geology, urban planning, economy, culture, and people in able to design a better environment.

Landscape architecture is a design study and profession of various sizes of landscapes including small gardens, parks, rehabilitation of polluted areas, urban squares, residential and commercial developments, hotels & tourist resorts, natural areas and infrastructure – anything that you often in your town, city and sometimes national parks would have input from a landscape architect. Landscape architecture is more than design and also includes policy, research, and technology.

What does a landscape architect do?

Landscape Architects design outdoor spaces (and sometimes indoors) from small gardens to large highways and they play an important role in every city in shaping its spaces. Landscape architects can formulate city policy, undertake an environmental impact assessment, create a masterplan for a natural area or heritage area or a new city, design plazas, malls, streetscapes, parks most landscapes that you see will have some design input from a landscape architect. Landscape Architects work with many other design professionals including urban planners, urban designers, architects, engineers, horticulturalists, arborists, surveryors, heritage consultants, construction managers, construction workers, artists, designers, lighting consultants and many more.

Most Landscape architects spend many hours in the office thinking about concepts and formulating ideas with some field work during site inventory and also during construction.

Landscape architects who focus on design concentrate their design skills on the arrangement and style of the space including the paving, planting, furniture, structures, water features, drainage, land forms, roads, signage(ci), and lighting.

Landscape Architects not only design they work in many other areas and specialisations including planning, park management, construction management, research, heritage or environmental conservation and many more.

Invisible City: Exhibition South Shanghai Railway Station

海世盛楼Invisible City

Invisible City is an exhibition comprising of eight International artists in the South Railway Metro Station in Shanghai. It coincides with the World Expo 2010, incorporate art interventions and addressing the relationship between the urban dwellers and the modern phenomenon of Shanghai at the specific time the World Expo, through a process shaped by research, educational programmes and artistic practices.

Curator:汪单 Wang Dan

Executive Officer:陈文佳Chen Wen Jia,黄松 Huang Song,张羽洁Zhang Yu Jie

Participating Artists: Aline Veillat(CH), Anna Boggon(UK), Bignia Wehril(CH),

Gao Fu Yan( CN), Tim Gruchy(NZ), Jin Jiang Bo(CN), Li Xiao Fe(CN), Luo Ming Jun(CH)

Workshop: Body Mapping/ Amspace Shanghai

Dance Movement Therapist: Yang -Wei Ting, Hsieh-Meng Yi

Location: Connection between Line 1 and Line 3 South Shanghai Railway Station

Dates: 2010.09.06-2010.09.30

NOTE: These are photos I took recently and I am not involved with the Exhibition







Low carbon cities are the way of the future for China

The Low carbon city has become a popular topic in recent times and is an important concept and idea for urban design. Developing low carbon cities is important as energy use, economy and environment are all connected and determine the prosperity of a city.

A low-carbon city is more complex than using alternative energy such as solar and wind but also requires designing a city efficiently to maximise the energy used. Cities can design cities to be efficient with appropriate land use, integrate transport system, efficient electricity and water use, using locally produced food and construction materials and integrated project management to reduce waste and rebuilding. To become a low carbon a city needs to integrate sustainable design and construction techniques for urban design, architecture and landscape architecture into their master planning process.

With new cities being planned in China for the next 20 years, China has the opportunity of developing and using the latest theories and techniques in low carbon and eco-cities to become the world leader in urban design. By developing and using efficient sustainable design for infrastructure, architecture, and urban design China can create liveable cities that will become the example for the world.

Research & Education is fundamental in implementing low-carbon cities. Universities need to lead research and development of low carbon city design with the best techniques made available to its students and also to the public through professors presenting at conferences. The theory and findings of research are only useful if it is put into practice in the real world.