Mudd 25 International Studios

The MUDD UDES0003 International Urban Design Studio has been conducted in 53 cities worldwide since 1995 and is strongly aligned with the UNSW Strategic Priorities of Social Engagement and Global Impact. The MUDD25 Beijing and Hangzhou Studios were the seventh and eighth International Urban Design Studios undertaken in China and worked jointly with two of China’s most eminent tertiary institutions undertaking projects at the northern and southern ends of the Grand Canal. In Beijing, we collaborated with Peking University and Turenscape, the internationally renowned practice of Professor Yu Kongjian, to present provocative solutions for peri-urban villages at the eastern water-gate to the city. In Hangzhou we joined with staff and students from Zhejiang University to propose solutions
for challenging brownfields sites in the former heavy industry belt along the Grand Canal.


For more than 800 years, the Tongzhou District has been an important northern terminus of the Grand Canal and a recognised eastern gateway to Beijing. Once a thriving port and transportation hub, the advent of the railways in the 19th century meant that the importance of this area to the economy of China gradually declined. However, the General City Plan for Beijing (2016-2035) has identified the district as part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integrated Economic Circle, and as such, is primed for accelerated development.

In 2019 the Beijing Municipal Government relocated to a new administrative complex in the district centre of Tongzhou. This represents an eastward shift in the future growth of the capital and a strategy to ease development pressures within the historic inner rings of Beijing. It ties into a broader national strategy called “ Go to the Countryside”, which encourages residential growth in peri-
urban areas, enabling the continued economic and social sustainability of rural towns near large cities and promotes attractive semi-rural lifestyles as an alternative to the high rise superblocks ubiquitous to urban China.


Hangzhou is a city of 9.8million people and lies at the southern end of the Grand Canal. It is one of China’s most visited cities, famous for the renowned West Lake, historic districts and more than 50 museums. It is one of China’s most dynamic business and financial centres and houses the headquarters of Alibaba, Geely, Zhonga Group and many others. It is sometimes referred to as “China’s Silicone Valley”. The importance of Hangzhou to the trade and culture of China was established by 609AD, when the southern gateway to the Grand Canal was completed. By 1115AD, the population had boomed and growth extended beyond the city walls. This growth continued over the centuries and by the early 20th century, Hangzhou was an important trading centre, connected to the north of China by the Grand Canal and to the south of China and the rest of the world through sea-lanes.