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 微文:Micro-green spaces in urban environments : Dormant or active
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摘要: 转载本刊原创文章需支付稿费详情联系文末邮箱 本次文章的发表源于《城市中国》杂志与来自宾夕法尼亚大学的城市中国学社(Urban China Collective)的合作。宾大城市中国学社作为一个学生社团,在宾大校园以及美东地区积极搭建以讲座、会议、论坛为方式的平台,促进学者与学生在城市话题上跨领域的交流。这次与《城市中国》杂志合作发表的文章,是作为宾大城市中国学社即将在2020年2月7日举办的第二次年度会议的前期研究,作为会议议题的背景信息补充。本文翻译自《城市中国》084期《都市微绿:公众需求及参与推动的绿色空间转型》“被忽视的街道微型绿地空间:休眠还是激活”一文,并在原文的基础上有所修改。Green spaces in high-density cities are beginning to encounter new development opportunit......(2020-01-29 21:00:00)| 本站微文频道仅收录微信文章标题与文首300字  |   作者:城市中国杂志

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Micro-green spaces in urban environments : Dormant or active


转载本刊原创文章需支付稿费

详情联系文末邮箱 

本次文章的发表源于《城市中国》杂志与来自宾夕法尼亚大学的城市中国学社(Urban China Collective)的合作。宾大城市中国学社作为一个学生社团,在宾大校园以及美东地区积极搭建以讲座、会议、论坛为方式的平台,促进学者与学生在城市话题上跨领域的交流。这次与《城市中国》杂志合作发表的文章,是作为宾大城市中国学社即将在2020年2月7日举办的第二次年度会议的前期研究,作为会议议题的背景信息补充。本文翻译自《城市中国》084期《都市微绿:公众需求及参与推动的绿色空间转型》“被忽视的街道微型绿地空间:休眠还是激活”一文,并在原文的基础上有所修改。

Green spaces in high-density cities are beginning to encounter new development opportunities and pressures. Considering these recent trends in rapid urban regeneration and attempts to increase tree canopy rates, the use of green spaces has become a point of interest for the academy. When considering green spaces and urban regeneration, it is important to consider how high-density blocks will be able to provide access to nature. High density areas are more frequently used and have a higher demand for micro-green space, leading the academy to wonder; how can urban life be activated through the transformation of green space? In the past two years, Jing 'an district and Yangpu district in Shanghai have launched several community micro-renewal projects such as "beautiful block" and "beautiful home", which reveal  transformative types of street level micro-green space and the strategies to use in their implementation. This report will examine the use of micro-green spaces, beginning with their impact on needs of the public, exploring their role in public space, and illustrating how they can improve land use efficiency, optimize landscape environments, and enrich street life. 

Green spaces next to streets often form hidden boundaries. The picture shows Beijing Road, Urumqi, Xinjiang. (Photography/ Guo CUI)

A public space perspective on small green spaces

Urban green spaces exist in many different forms across cities. These spaces can be classified into different categories according to the type of urban green space and its service coverage, such as street-level green spaces, sporadic green spaces, and micro-green spaces, which have a small scale and service radius of 100m~300m. Compared with park green spaces, micro-green spaces are distributed among streets, communities, and buildings, which are more closely related to people's daily lives. In terms of accessibility and frequency of use, micro-green spaces are also closer to people's preference for close proximity. These micro-green spaces are not only the main focus of high-density urban greening projects, but also fundamental to build the urban public space system. 

TYPES OF URBAN GREEN SPACE AND SERVICE COVERAGE

Creating street-level micro-green spaces entails greening the street space, including the facilities, walkways, building frontage, road junction zone, space under the viaduct, recumbent space of buildings facing the street, alley space of living area or narrow space between buildings, etc. Therefore, implementing micro-green spaces depends a lot on the layout of the road network. The denser the road network, the higher demand is for social activities and the easier it is to create smaller spaces. Combined with the functions of the circulation, micro-green spaces are distributed irregularly among such smaller spaces but remain easily accessible. Effective use of micro-greenspaces helps to soften street edges and helps to nurture public urban life. 

TYPES OF SMALL URBAN GREEN SPACES

Within their current implementation in urban built environments, street-level micro-green spaces exhibit the following conditions;  most are simplified as part of  road greening or community greening efforts, most can easily accommodate natural  planting elements, not all have been fully identified and utilized by the public, few have been actively transformed into street squares or pocket parks with high green coverage or pedestrian crossings, and due to location, ownership, or other reasons, few have become abandoned.

Unmanned small green spaces often become a dead end for community health. The picture shows the green space of a residential district in Shanghai. (Photography/ Guo CUI)

Understanding applications of design guidelines

In August 2016, Shanghai released guidelines for the planning of 15-minute community living circles . These guidelines proposed that leisure open spaces could be transformed at both the large-scale and at the small and micro scales. The goals for transforming open spaces included efforts to improve the service level of small squares and green spaces at the community level, and improve the coverage of small and micro-spaces from the perspective of accessibility. Furthermore, the guidelines encouraged the exploration of affiliated open spaces and activation of public space through micro-space transformation. In October of the same year, "Shanghai Street Design Guidelines" was released. The street design guidelines suggested improving the impermeable and hardened site on commercial and community service streets, coordinating landscape design with the needs of public activities, and replacing closed, non-utilized green spaces with open green spaces, so as to enrich and activate street life. The design guidelines include elements such as "Excavate Potential", "De-decorate" and "Open Boundary," which provide guidance on "where to get space" and "how to get space" and are transformational strategies for street-level micro-green spaces.

The small green spaces on the streets of Chinese cities are generally more decorative than functional. The picture shows the renovation of plants for a street in Shanghai. (Photography/ Guo CUI)

Excavate Potential" can be understood as determining the needs of existing resources, evaluating existing public spaces, and determining the availability of spaces with different ownership. "De-decoration" and "Open Boundary" should be complementary to the "exploration"; "De-decoration" refers to reimagining the significance and use of road green space based on the actual needs of people; "Open Boundary" refers to not only the attached space of building units with walls, but also frontages of the buildings without walls and other space of the street.

Closed building setback (Left) and open building setback (Right),the latter strengthens the interaction between pedestrians and the boundary. (Image Source/Shanghai Street Design Guidelines)

Exploration and practice: How to active small green space

There is great promise in retrofitting micro-green spaces within high density built environments. Micro-green spaces complement and optimize the landscape systems in a community, improve and revitalize the streetscape of sidewalks, and more clearly establish the open spaces in a commercial area or campus. In their work, designers should pay attention to micro-green spaces, integrate the demand of residents, and evaluate the potential of retrofitting at the beginning phase of deign. The design principles include:


No Negative Space

In his book Exterior Design in Architecture, Japanese architect Yoshinobu Ashihara defined negative space as the space growing automatically without plan or order. In terms of micro-green space design, boundary-less negative spaces with fragmented landscape elements shall be redesigned to improve the physical form and attract residents. Ensuring that there is no negative space retrofits the micro-green spaces and a way that can regain the attraction and satisfaction of residents.  This approach encourages designers to revisit the cities from the standpoint of an ordinary citizen and address issues from a micro perspective. One possible community engagement method in this approach is to collect and survey the attitudes of citizens through Wechat, which will help designers more efficiently define and catalogue negative spaces according to community opinions. 


Mixed-Uses

Micro-green spaces vary across their settings, from multi-program parks to median and buffer zones. In their approach, designers shall diversify the spatial uses of micro-green spaces and comprehensively think of these amenities so that residents will use them for different uses and during different periods of a day.


User-friendly

The design of small green space shall align with the intensive daily uses of various groups and ages of residents.


Social Activity

Because communities often gather in green spaces for social events, it is important for designers to fully understand the social and community needs for their project.

Most urban landscapes in China are managed by the government. The picture shows a street plant in Shanghai is being transformed. (Photography/ Guo CUI)


Scenario 1 

Dig the potential: retrofit the entrance of a residential compound 3.0

Location: 1-47, 386 Alley, Jiaocheng Road, Shanghai.

Characteristics: Daily life

Task: Retrofit the entrance

Designer: Xinlei LI

Design: Under-utilized is much space, such as water features and planters near the entrances of residential compounds. At the beginning of the project, designers intended to add digital amenities in the community to create a smart neighborhood. For example, in Shengshijiayuan, community planners suggested to remove the water feature and fences and mix the potential uses. Planner identifies the spaces differently: on the right side, the area opens to the public and provides seating for pedestrians and sanitation workers; on the left side, the area of digital boxes, water purifier, and food market serves the residents only. However, the obstacles included the cost of government and the resistance of residents to share space with outsiders. The community planner then came up with the second option, which turned the water feature to a vertical planter as an iconic landscape at the entrance. The client and the residents preferred the second scheme of less cost and maintenance.

Difficulty: the willingness of the client to operate and maintain the space.

Performance: to be evaluated.

The current situation and two different planning scenarios of the site.


§


Scenario 2 

"Open Boundary" -- the open linkage between the corner square and the old community.

Location: No. 5, Alley 190, Liaoyuan West Road, Shanghai.

Characteristics: Daily life

Task: Improve the environmental landscape around the community 

Designer: Tingxia XI, Jie LI

Design: Alley 190 Liaoyuan West Road is merged by the Liaoyuan No.1 Railway Community, Alley 1 Dahushan Road, and Alley 190, No.4, Area 3 Liaoyuan West Road. This project is a renovation practice of the old residential area. Aiming at the space resources around the community, a fitness trail is designed to pass through from the street corner green space to the interior of the community, and then connect with the school sports playground, thus to open the space resources of the street, community and school. Among them, the street corner located on the east side of Hengyang Community and separated from Alley 190 of Liaoyuan West Road is a transformable space with concave streets--the shops on the ground floor are not rented and the outdoor landscape is deserted. The designer suggested that the community can rent the corner shop from Hengyang Community to be used as an activity center or neighborhood committee office space in the long run, while the outdoor space will be turned into a community park to meet the needs of residents for outdoor leisure and performing arts activities, thus expanding the outdoor space of the community. Finally, by breaking the local wall and setting up revolving doors, the open linkage and safety management of the three communities can be realized.

Difficulty: Opening some space resources of streets or other units can help make up for the lack of space for residents in the old community. However, in reality, due to the problems of spatial plots or multiple ownership, it takes a long time to balance multiple interests and improve the management ability of the community.

Performance: The plan is approved and to be implemented.

The current underused corner and transformation plan in West Liaoyuan Road community.


§


Scenario 3 

“Be humanized" -- renovation of Xiachangpu riverside leisure space on Yonghe Road

Location: Intersection of Yonghe Road and Gaoping Road, Shanghai

Characteristics: Landscape leisure space

Task: Improve the landscape of street riverside

Designer: Gang YANG

Design: After ecological purification, Yonghe Road and Xiachangpu River become cleaner. However, the pedestrian space is narrow and there is no rest facilities and sightseeing space. Referring to the renovation practice of Suzhou River, which is intended to design riverside railings and viewing platforms, the plan was to increase 1.5 to 3 meters by taking advantage of the river surface space, and open the riverside landscape in all directions. However, due to flood control considerations, this plan will not be adopted when the river management is submitted for approval: the section of the river cannot be narrowed, and the water surface rate must be kept constant for hydrophilic modification. In fact, the riverside space of the Xiachangpu section of Yonghe Road is limited: one side is an urban road, and the other side is a residential wall. In other words, according to the flood control requirements, if the riverside revetment or platform selection renovation is to be realized, the government needs to coordinate with the residential area. Whether it is willing or necessary to open part of the wall and add concave hydrophilic space in the riverside space, only in this way can the riverside platform selection renovation plan be correspondingly realized.

Difficulty: The design can make the use of space more humanized, but the space on both sides of the riverside is limited and the ownership is different. Further legal and reasonable opening of riverside landscape requires joint efforts of many parties.

Performance: The plan has been approved by the community and needs to be connected with river management.

The improvement scheme of Xiapu River bank.


§


Scenario 4 

"Remove decoration"-Reconstruction of Green Space at the Corner of Hutai Road and Hutai Branch Road

Location: North Gate of Data Port Building, Jiangchang West Road, Shanghai

Characteristics: Public service

Task: Reconstruction of Street Green Space

Designer: Haonan YANG

Design: At the intersection of Hutai Road and Hutai Branch Road, the subway station on Xingzhi Road is closed and cannot participate in triangular green space. Large trees and billboards block the openness of the traffic line of sight. However, the site is close to the commercial street and adjacent to the comprehensive commercial building, with a large number of people and subway traffic flow during commuting. Their demands and preferences for the surrounding environment of the subway provide a support for the site renovation. After demanding investigation and crowd portrait analysis, it is planned to connect the site with the southern street sports park and transform the triangular green space into a tree-lined leisure square--to realize the functional transformation of the site by providing shade, recreational facilities, night scenery public art pieces, and historical exhibition of Hutai Road. In addition, this triangular green space was originally a protective green space, and may become a small open public space after renovation. Therefore, at the implementation level, the plan needs to be approved by the Greening and City Appearance Management Bureau to confirm whether the green space can be opened and transformed.

Difficulty: Designers can only collect the necessity of adjusting the green space to match the needs of the surrounding population through various technical means, so as to clearly define the design orientation of the space. However, whether the green space should be opened still needs to convince the relevant departments and owners.

Performance: Pending the opinions from the owners and government's departments.

The transformation plan of the street junction.


§


Scenario 5 

"Anti-negativity"-Space Reconstruction under Beimen Viaduct of Xinyue Square

Location: Alley 3616, Gonghe New Road, Jing 'an District, Shanghai

Characteristics: Traffic nature

Task: Reconstruction of Street Green Space

Designer: Gang YANG

Design: The north gate of Xinyue Square is located under the north-south elevated bridge, and the exit is the gray space under the elevated bridge. The on-site investigation found that many residents still prefer to go in and out of this area, because compared with the main entrance and exit of Xinquan Road, Gonghe New Road outside the North Gate vertically connects important roads such as Changzhong Road, Jiangchang Road and Zhonghuan Road, and is distributed along Peng Pu Park, Gonghe International Business Square, Daning Business Square and other enterprises and institutions, making travel more convenient. However, under the viaduct outside Beimen, there is now a traffic area and a vertical wall. The entrance and exit of Xinyue Square are close to the traffic area. The traffic under the bridge is complicated. In addition to the flow of people from the north and south and residents entering and leaving the residential area, there are also non-motor vehicles from Xinquan Road, which have potential safety hazards. Therefore, the designer proposed to divide functional areas to organize traffic and activity space, implement traffic separation for non-motor vehicles and pedestrians, and add landscape recreational facilities and three-dimensional greening to improve the environment under the viaduct.

Difficulty: The space under the viaduct is simple in landscape. But as the role of living room for the residential area, which is also the transportation node between the north and the south part, it is necessary to consider the space usage targets in different periods, reasonably design the landscape facilities, and regulate the traffic order while meeting the daily needs for residents.

Performance: The project is approved and under construction.

The improvement plan of the space under the viaduct.

Producer/Gehry [UCRC]+ Yijing ZHANG [UPenn]

Text/ Tingxia XI

Image Source/Tingxia XI 

Translation/ Boqian XU [UPenn]+Wanlin ZHANG [UPenn]+Shengyuan ZHENG [UPenn]

Proofread/Mary Eveleigh [UPenn]+Yijing ZHANG [UPenn]

Edit/Hui WANG+Ye PAN[UCRC]

策划/崔国+张祎婧

文/奚婷霞

图片提供/奚婷霞

翻译/徐搏谦+张万霖+郑盛远

校对/Mary Eveleigh+张祎婧

编辑/王卉+潘晔


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