Workshop & Training

Greater Mekong Subregion Urban Development and Planning Training Program

11 May 2015 - 15 May 2015 Yunnan Province, The People's Republic of China


Use the PRC’s urbanization experience over the last 65 years as a case study to share urban development good practices and lessons with the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.


Over 30 senior urban development and planning officials from 6 GMS countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the PRC, Thailand and Viet Nam) participated.


The course comprehensively reviewed the PRC’s urban development experience in terms of:

  • Multi-scale urban physical planning system;
  • Master planning;
  • Evolution of building and urban design;
  • Housing policy;
  • Sustainability and resilience;
  • Heritage/cultural preservation;
  • Civil infrastructure; and
  • Special economic zones in the context of:
    • International best urban development practice; 
    • ADB’s competitive, inclusive, green paradigm; and
    • Efficient energy conserving, pollution/GHG reducing urbanization.


  • Learn from the PRC in terms of scale, speed, and commitment to urbanization; 
  • Effective deployment of saturation mass transit and high speed rail;
  • Role of special economic zones in supporting economic development (economic and geographic clustering; innovation, labor, and environmental benefits);
  • Recognition of GMS – wide urban learning possibilities related to:
    • Tourism-amenity driven development; 
    • Cross-border corridor urbanization; 
    • Human-centered sustainable city-building (new urbanism); 
    • Protection of places of high heritage and environmental value; and
    • Innovation supportive urban environments.

Event Evaluation

The program was very well received with an overall satisfaction rate of 95.4%. All participants thought the trainers were well-prepared, the training objectives were met, and the training would be useful for future work. Participants showed great interest in the PRC’s best practice and site visit; and enjoyed sharing experiences and lessons among GMS countries. Participants hope to improve their future work through lessons learned and experiences shared from the training. Further topics pf interest could focus special economic zone development, environmental protection, private partnership in urbanization, climate change adaptation and mitigation for urban development process, urban securities, and poverty reduction.

  • Ministry of Finance, the PRC
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), the PRC
  • China Academy of Urban Planning and Design
  • People’s Government of Yunnan Province

0900-0945 Opening Session
Moderator: Fei Yu, Head, Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative, ADB


  • Ying Qian, Director, East Asia Department, ADB

  • Yongge Zhao, Director, MOHURD, the PRC

  • Li Hongna, Section Chief, MOF, the PRC

  • Sun Guomin, Deputy County Mayor, Tengchong County, Yunnan Province, the PRC

Session 1: Urban-Rural Planning Framework
1030-1050Overview of the Training Program
Moderator: Fei Yu

  • Overview of program

  • Brief introduction of the lectures

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Zhang Bing
1050-1150Lecture and Q&A: The PRC’s Urban-Rural Development and Planning Working System
Moderator: Douglas Webster

A review of the process of the PRC’s urban and rural development, highlighted by different stages. Emphasis will be given to the challenges facing the development of urban and rural areas and their countermeasures under the new urbanization policy background. It describes the basic structure of the PRC’s urban and rural planning system, its history, the main features of evolution, as well as how to respond to changing trends in urban and rural development. In addition, it introduced the constitution of the planning system with case studies.

Speaker: Zhang Bing
1150-1330 Lunch
1330-1430Lecture and Q&A: Implementation of Urban Planning, Management Systems, and Regulations
Moderator: Douglas Webster

  • Introduction to urban and rural planning laws and regulations system in the PRC

  • Definition, scope, objects, principles and methods of planning management systems

  • Land use planning management and construction project planning management

  • Supervision and inspection system and program for the implementation of urban planning

Speaker: Dong Ke
1430-1500 Tea/Coffee Break
1500-1630Group Discussion

  • Summary and brief comments on urban-rural planning and framework

  • Self introduction, interests and relevant experience in own country

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Dong Ke, Alexandra Vogl
1800 Welcome Dinner

Session 2: Comprehensive Planning and Architectural Design
0900-1000Lecture and Q&A: Urban (town and village) Master Plan
Moderator: Douglas Webster

Master plan is the overarching mechanism of designing and implementing comprehensive set of policies and strategies regarding the future growth of cities, town and villages. This lecture will provide an overview and case studies of the master planning at the following levels: comprehensive city planning, town comprehensive planning and village planning.

Speaker: Zhang Juan
1000-1015Tea/Coffee Break
1015-1115 Lecture and Q&A: Architecture Design in the PRC: The Recent Four Decades
Moderator: Douglas Webster

With the rapid socioeconomic development, the field of architectural design has experienced unprecedented prosperity and opportunities for development. The level of the PRC’s architectural design has increased quickly and design agencies have become quite diversified. Not only has it accommodated the high urban housing demands, there have been many excellent design works in urban infrastructure and public facility construction. From an architect’s perspective, this presentation will explore the development, features, trends, and main contributing factors of the PRC’s architectural design, and summarize case studies applicable to other countries.

Speaker: Zhang Junying

1115-1145 Group Discussion: Comprehensive Planning and Architectural Design

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Alexandra Vogl, Zhang Juan
1145-1300 Lunch
1300-1400Lecture and Q&A: Current Trends in International Planning
Moderator: Alexandra Vogl

Planning practice is becoming increasingly globalized, with a core of “best practice” emerging, catalyzed by professional organizations and international development banks, although individual countries, including the PRC, retain discernible individual planning styles within this framework. This widespread rapid diffusion of knowledge is generally positive, but the risk is that diversity in planning thought may be threatened.

Professor Webster’s presentation focuses critically on key themes that are increasingly at the forefront of urban planning worldwide. The themes to be discussed will include: (i) smart cities, (ii) new urbanism, (iii) transit-oriented development, (iv) amenity based development, (v) urban sustainability, encompassing conventional pollution, green house gas emissions, and alternative energy, (vi) heritage planning, and (vii) new forms of land use guidance, particularly form-based planning.

Speaker: Douglas Webster
1400-1730 Site Visits:

  • Xishan New District

  • Dongshan New District

  • Tengchong Planning Area

Newly developed urban districts in the city of Tengchong to redirect urban growth and industrial development. Demonstration of the city’s effort in building municipal infrastructure.

Speaker: Zhao Guochuang, Cun Shoucheng

Session 3: Urban Development Approaches
0900-1000Lecture and Q&A: Smart and resilient urban development for green, inclusive and competitive cities
Moderator: Douglas Webster

Asia is on the move, with economic growth attracting more than 120,000 new urbanites each day to its cities, urbanization is happening at an unprecedented scale and speed. By 2050 around 65% of the Region’s population will live in urban areas. The quality and efficiency of Asian cities will determine the region’s long-term productivity and overall stability. Maintaining vital economic growth, while creating livable cities for all, is the biggest challenge in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The Region’s success in attracting financing to urban areas for developing competitive, inclusive, and green cities will hold the key for continued and shared prosperity in the Region. The need to strengthen urban resilience, in particular, is likely to require knowledge, investment and collaboration among development partners. The lecture will discuss challenges and opportunities to build sustainable, resilient and livable cities and how the Asian Development Bank can support such. The concept of building urban climate change resilience, approaches towards smarter cities will be discussed.

Speaker: Alexandra Vogl
1000-1100 Lecture and Q&A: A framework to facilitate compact spatial planning and transitoriented development policies for climate change mitigation in the PRC
Moderator: Douglas Webster

Compact spatial planning and TOD are policies to manage urban growth and shape urban densities (population and jobs) for delivering economic growth and social inclusiveness while mitigating climate change. They integrate spatial and transportation planning and concentrate densities along transit lines and around transit nodes.

The presentation will address the following questions:

  • Which spatial development patterns best contribute to climate change mitigation and efficient resource use?

  • How to define and articulate densities (FAR, residents and jobs) and how to shape transit networks in order to achieve compact development through scales?

  • What impact of compact spatial planning and TOD on transportation energy?

  • What impact of compact development on economic growth?

  • How to address challenges of urban quality of life, housing affordability, and urban competitiveness?

The presentation will introduce a comprehensive framework (the 3V Framework) to prioritize TOD investment with indicators addressing connectivity and accessibility, urban design and planning (street patterns, high quality urban fabric, mix use), and economic levers to create market value.

Speaker: Serge Salat
1100-1115Tea/Coffee Break
1115-1145 Group Discussion: Urban development approaches-green cities and/or disaster resilience

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Alexandra Vogl, Serge Salat
1300-1730 Site Visits:

  • Beihai Wetland

  • Qushi Ecological Tourism District

Qushi Town, located in northern Tengchong with an area size of 1.7 square kilometers, is a unique area that demonstrates the city’s effort in developing ecological tourism and a regional sub-center for the city.

Speaker: Zhao Guochuang

Time Program
Session 4: Sectoral Planning
0830-0930Lecture and Q&A: Civil Engineering Planning
Moderator: Douglas Webster

The situation of water, electricity, gas and heat supply is the fundamental condition for the normal operation for the city. As the population and property in the city increase quickly, urban disaster prevention and environmental protection has exerted great influence on the function and quality of the city, as the result, these kinds of plan have become the important parts of the city plan in the PRC. This lecture will include: traditional civil engineering plan, environmental protection plan, and comprehensive disaster prevention plan.

Speaker: Hao Tianwen
0930-1030Lecture and Q&A: Urban Housing Development Plan
Moderator: Douglas Webster

We are facing new trends of urban housing development, including housing market shifts from rapid growth to stable development, housing demand tends to be more complex, and need for affordable housing keeps growing. The lecture will have three components: history of urban housing development in the PRC; purpose, content and current trends of housing development; and housing issues in the PRC’s fast urbanization process.

Speaker: Jiao Yixue
1030-1045Tea/Coffee Break
1045-1145Lecture and Q&A: Historical and Cultural Preservation Planning
Moderator: Douglas Webster

  • Evolvement of planning and management system related to historic and cultural preservation

  • Values, key-points, and effective methods that Chinese planners have identified in preservation planning

  • Case studies

Speaker: Zhang Guanghan
1145-1215Group Discussion: Sectoral Planning

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Alexandra Vogl, Jiao Yixue
1215-1315 Lunch
1315-1800Site Visits:

  • Heshun Historic Town

  • Rehai Scenic Area

The visit to Heshun Historic Town is for the purpose of studying historical preservation and cultural conservation and how they can be well incorporated with the area’s modern need for growth and tourism development.

The visit to Rehai Scenic Area is for the purpose of studying how characteristic natural elements are being incorporated in a multi-stage process in the planning and design of a national-level scenic area.

Speakers: Zhao Guochuang, Li Qingzhong
1800Back to hotel and dinner

Session 5: Special Planning: Economic Zones and New Districts
0900-1000Lecture and Q&A: New Town, New District Planning, Developmental Zones (including Border Economic Cooperation Zone) Planning and Management
Moderator: Douglas Webster

New town and new district planning has been an important and essential part of the PRC’s city building process. This lecture will aim to answer questions including: How and why did we build and are still building those new towns, districts and development areas? How do the central and local governments lead this process? What are the evolving stories in terms of planning and management? What will be the crucial aspects in the near future? Can they provide experience or lessons for the GMS member states?

Speaker: Liang Hao
1000-1100Lecture and Q&A: Experience and Lessons of City Development in Shenzhen
Moderator: Douglas Webster

The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone is a vanguard during the PRC’s reform and opening up. From a border town to one of the PRC’s most significant megacity, Shenzhen’s growth is a miracle in urban development history. The construction of Shenzhen SEZ is a demonstrative and revelatory case of the PRC’s city building experience.

The Shenzhen branch of CAUPD has witnessed the SEZ’s history and directly involved in a number of important urban planning projects. This presentation aims to discuss some of the gained lessons and experience of Shenzhen and inspire its future growth.

Speaker: Wang Zejian
1100-1115 Tea/Coffee Break
1115-1145Lecture and Q&A: Chinese Emerging Planning Practice
Moderator: Alexandra Vogl

This presentation focuses on both key challenges facing Chinese cities in the context of rapid demographic and economic change, and emerging trends as the PRC’s city building moves from an emphasis on quantity (i.e., providing sufficient infrastructure and housing) to delivering more livable urban environments.

Key drivers of change are examined such as the saturation rapid transit, highspeed rail, the transition to a service economy, and post-modernism. The role of changing consumer preferences is examined as well as the the PRC’s New Urbanization policy.

Speaker: Douglas Webster
1145-1200Training Evaluation
1200-1300 Lunch
1300-1400Group Presentation
Country representatives give 10 minutes presentation to discuss relevant experience and comments

Speaker: Douglas Webster, Alexandra Vogl, Liang Hao
1400-1600Site Visits: Tengchong Economic Development District
Tengchong Economic Development District is one of Yunnan’s provincial level economic development zones and Tengchong’s first high-tech and industrial park.

Speaker: Li Xilin
1600Back to hotel and dinner

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