Delegates from China Architecture Design Group (CADG), with eminent scholars in urban design from Tsinghua University, Tianjin University and Southeast University, China, met yesterday with academics from the Department of Planning and Transport, to explore international partnerships between China and the UK, relating to the practice and education of Urban Planning and Design.

The group has been commissioned by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People's Republic of China to review current practices and innovative educational programmes in urban design abroad. The University of Westminster has been selected for this purpose.

Dr Giulio Verdini, Course Leader of the new Designing Cities BA organised the meeting, with Professor Johan Woltjer, Head of the Department of Planning and Transport, welcoming the group and outlining the urban design stream within the department. The Chinese delegation was comprised of LONG Haixia, Vice President of CADG, YANG Yifan, Dean and Professor at CADG, HUANG Shengwen, Secretary of CADG, BIAN Lanchun, Professor at Tsinghua University, TANG Yan, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University, YUAN Dachang, Professor at Tianjin University, MI Xiaoyan, Lecturer at Tianjin University, and YANG Jianqiang, Professor at Southeast University.  Urban Design academics Nick Bailey, Marion Roberts and Bill Erickson also attended the meeting.

The delegation was particularly impressed by the quality of urban design teaching at the University of Westminster. They asked several questions regarding the well-established MA in Urban Design and they were pleased to see that the University has strengthened the area of urban design by launching a new BA in Designing Cities in 2016. Designing Cities, being an integrated course between Planning and Architecture, represents a real innovation in the Higher Education Landscape in the UK, with the potential for implementation in other countries.

At the end of panel discussion, the Chinese delegation agreed to explore future potential cooperation among the experts convened, sharing students and staff for teaching and research purposes in the years to come.

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