Speculative Gameboarding for Megaregions: Using Morphological Themes for a Pedagogical Approach to Regional Design in the Greater Bay Area, China

Henry Endemann*, Gerhard Bruyns, Peter Hasdell, D.A. Sepulveda Carmona, L. Qu, Darren Nel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The unprecedented speed and scale of urbanization in China calls for advanced planning and design strategies. This paper aims to explore a new pedagogical approach that cultivates morphological regional design studies to develop spatial strategies that acknowledge the complex and diverse urban landscapes of Chinese megaregions. Accordingly, the objective is to compare different morphological themes that form the basis for speculative gameboarding as a regional design methodology in the setting of academic planning and design studios. The paper evaluates a collection of outcomes from four years of collaboration between The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design and the TU Delft’s Department of Urbanism. Here, gameboarding was used as a methodology to draft scenarios for large-scale spatial transformation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). Firstly, the paper explains the pedagogical trajectory of the studios along their three main phases — analysis, gameboarding, and evaluation. Secondly, it is investigated in how far the given morphological themes informed the design outcomes of the students. These outcomes are compared with regard to their spatial specificity as well as the radicalness of proposed transformations. Lastly, it is discussed if some of the themes are more suitable than others to respond to the socio-cultural and environmental specificities of the GBA. In six design studios, students worked on eight different morphological themes: pointillist, linear, strip, megablock, radial, ring, cross, and edge. It is found that redundancies exist between some of the themes, which suggests that the consolidation of themes might be worth exploring. Furthermore, the different context of the studios in the two universities seems to affect the role that gameboarding takes in the process. Overall, the teaching methodology has proven to generate a wide range of design strategies that point far beyond conventional spatial planning solutions. Speculative gameboarding with morphological themes is therefore a promising methodology that may be further enhanced and tested for other forms of stakeholder engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-79
Number of pages15
JournalLandscape Architecture (Fengjing Yuanlin)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • urban morphology
  • regional design
  • megaregions
  • gameboarding
  • Greater Bay Area
  • design education
  • research by design


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