Introduction: Adaptive Urban Transformation in the Pearl River Delta, China.

S. Nijhuis, Yimin Sun, Eckart Lange

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Deltaic areas are amidst the most favourable territories around the globe. Their strategic location and superior quality of their soils are core factors supporting both human development and the rise of these regions as global economic hubs. At the same time, deltas are extremely vulnerable to multiple threats from both climate change and the rush to urbanisation. These include an increased flood risk combined with the loss of ecological and social–cultural values. To ensure a more sustainable future for urbanising deltas, spatial strategies are needed to strengthen resilience, i.e. help the systems to cope with their vulnerabilities as well as enhance their capacity to overcome natural and anthropogenic threats. In this chapter, we outline the basic concepts and backgrounds of a joint research project with academic and societal partners called adaptive urban transformation. The objective of this research is to develop and test an integrative and multiscale design and planning approach for the adaptive urban transformation of urbanising deltas, in which the Pearl River Delta serves as a case study. In this approach, landscape-based regional design plays a key role in adaptive urban transformation, as well as innovative participation and visualisation techniques. Applications in urban design, planning, and governance in the PRD are also introduced. This chapter is foundational for the rest of the research presented in the chapters in this volume.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive Urban Transformation. Urban Landscape Dynamics, Regional Design and Territorial Governance in the Pearl River Delta, China
EditorsSteffen Nijhuis, Yimin Sun, Eckart Lange
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-89828-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-89827-4, 978-3-030-89830-4
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameThe Urban Book Series
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588


  • Resilient urban planning and management
  • Landscape-based regional design
  • Adaptive urban planning
  • visualisation
  • stakeholder participation
  • chief urban designer system
  • territorial governance


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