Study trips to Europe to learn agriculture, smart urbanism and eco development
News / 11 Jul 2019

Following the success of the 2nd Bluetown and Greentown China-UK Conference, in which the topics of agriculture, smart urbanism, eco development and renewable energy were raised in the forefront of building ideal towns. China Design Centre organised two European study trips in September 2018 and May 2019, in order to support Bluetown and Greentown to learn how those concepts can be applied into practice that contributes to the healthy growth of towns.

In Amsterdam and the surrounding area, the Bluetown and Greentown delegates explored the 40-year evolving development of Almere New Town and the town centre in the lowlands. Then they enjoyed the charming village of Giethoorn, thanks to the help from INTI, IS Maatwerk, and the hospitality of Gabriellia Esselbrugge, Director of Giethoorn Tourism Association.

The planning officer from Almere Council introducing the development of Almere New Town

Visiting Almere New Town

Gabriella was talking to the delegates that people make Giethoorn a super place for hospitality

For the famous Dutch horticulture industry, the delegates visited the highly efficient Aalsmere flower market, Keukenhof and exchanged ideas with the flower park designer and supplier IGMPR and Jansens Overseas. To understand how the normal farm is working in Netherlands, the delegates visited an arable farm in ENS and learned how one small family is looking after 200ha land with the assistance of smart technology. In Rotterdam, the delegates also learnt happiness philosophy of elderly care at Residence Roosenburch, a senior apartment founded by Prof. Hans Becker.

Ibo from IGMPR explaining flower park design and industry to Bluetown and Greentown delegates

The delegates were greatly inspired by EVA Lanxmeer eco village. Mrs. Dan Zhang, Executive Director of Jiaxin Bluetown commented, ‘In this village, we can find co-existence of diversified elements for homes of different community groups, technologies for environment protection, places for education, and ways for energy and food production. It forms a coherent system between human, community and the nature, and it is the power of inclusiveness and togetherness that has led to this ideal village’.

The delegates with Marleen, the founder of EVA Lanxmeer eco village

In Germany, the delegates explored a series of approaches and practices that contribute to the holistic thinking of eco masterplanning, linking urban and rural elements together as a completed circle. This included the discussion of low carbon settlement planning, passive house design and terra preta system with EMP Architecture and also the visit of Leonberg bio-gas plant that turned kitchen waste to energy and compost.

Rolf from EMP Architecture explaining low carbon settlement design

Visiting Terra Preta with the Palaterra Company

Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl, the world leading expert on water sensitive landscape and ecology, led the visit of Scharnhauser Park. A demonstration project for sponge city and water resilient design. It is a great experience for the delegates to explore biodynamic farms and bio-food wholesale business in Uberlingen and understand that the healthy food production, food distribution, community support, and food related education are significant to the town.

Visiting German’s oldest biodynamic farm with Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl and the farm owner Wolfgang

Exploring bio-food wholesale centre

Under the guidance of Prof. Wulf Daseking, the former head of planning of Freiburg City, the delegates visited the world’s greenest city---Freiburg, and the eco towns Vauban and Rieselfeld. Prof. Daseking encouraged that younger generations could take more responsibility and engage innovative ways to put an impact on making the city more sustainable.

Prof. Wulf Daseking talking about the green city in Vauban

In Switzerland’s picturesque towns, the delegates learnt tourism destination management with Montreux Riviera Tourism Management Office and understood how to coordinate all the local resources and target on different markets in the world. The last stop in Geneva offered a great opportunity to learn energy planning, award winning Territorial Energy Concept and the demonstration project of using deep water from Geneva Lake as an energy source to serve large institutional buildings.

Visiting Geneva Lake water sourced energy project

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