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Guangdong planners join Bartlett’s ‘Urban Organic Renewal’ training course

SophieVinter23 February 2016

By David Cobb, Director of Business Development, The Bartlett

Attendees of The Bartlett's ‘Urban Organic Renewal’ training courseFor the second time in as many years The Bartlett welcomed a large delegation of Chinese urban planners from several cities across Guangdong Province.

The 10-day executive training course focused on the theme of ‘Urban Organic Renewal’ and drew on the expertise of The Bartlett’s senior academics – along with invited specialist guest lecturers.

The training visit, undertaken on a commercial basis, celebrated The Bartlett’s warm and developing relationship with Guangdong Province. Beyond the 2013 training course Bartlett professors have participated in Guangdong’s ‘Mayors Fora’ and delivered workshops in Zhuhai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The delegation visiting UCL was led by President Zhang Zhaokang, Guangdong Urban & Rural Planning and Design Institute and included a former Bartlett Development Planning Unit alumnus, Ma Xiangming.

London’s regeneration

The training visit included 10 days at UCL, including lectures and site visits at which academics could showcase London’s approach to regeneration and renewal at locations including the Olympic Park; Kings Cross Station; South Bank; The Shard and Docklands.

External guest speakers included Michele Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2, who is also a visiting Professor to The Bartlett School of Planning.

The Bartlett course delegates in the same pub previously visited by Chinese President Xi Jinping

The delegation used their remaining time in the UK by visiting provincial cities – including Edinburgh, Bath, Oxford and Cambridge – at which they met city experts and officials to learn more about the governance and challenges they face.

One unintended coach stop was particularly welcomed by the delegation. They stopped at the same pub where their President Xi Jinping joined Prime Minister Cameron to eat fish and chips and enjoy a couple of pints of Green King IPA beer just a few weeks beforehand! A good photo stop!

Meeting key influencers

A feature of this training course was the increased profile, contribution and support provided by the Bartlett’s Chinese ‘student team’ comprising 10 PhD planning students and one urban design masters student. It gave them access to meet and socialise with influential Chinese planners and hopefully this will be helpful to some in their future careers upon returning to China.

Feedback on the course has been overwhelmingly positive, with one delegate commenting: “Wonderful. UCL is indeed a strong and sophisticated university. I especially like how urban planning and urban design are combined in the academic structure. Also using the underground to classes, though tiring, is a good way of learning about this city. A very unique experience.”