Urban Upgrading Strategy, Yangzhou



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
1 Participation is the vital component in planning, decision-making and implementation: From the very beginning, the participatory approach of the urban upgrading process was supported by the responsible authorities of Yangzhou Municipal Government. Stakeholder involvement and multi-disciplinary cooperation: Much energy has been put into identifying relevant stakeholders and raising their commitment. An inter-disciplinary and interdepartmental planning process has been initiated to promote efficient cooperation among different actors from the municipal government. A series of workshops with different stakeholders (local, regional and international) ensured participatory decision making and transparent dissemination. Information and public discussion: During the identification of programme components and discussion about appropriate strategies, an internet platform was launched. Residents have been informed about the upgrading programme, process and events through local media (newspaper, TV). At the neighbourhood level, local residents of the Old City have a special participatory role and responsibility. “Community Action Planning” (CAP) has been introduced in the pilot block to engage the residents into the planning, financing and implementation in collaboration with the municipal government. During workshops, they enthusiastically prepared and subsequently implemented action plans for short and medium-term improvements. Reinforcing the awareness for architectural and cultural heritage among the residents has played an important role towards promoting cultural sustainability. “Mini-CAP” workshops were developed around the same participatory principles as the upgrading CAPs, but were very short and more focused. They provided a quick way to build and reinforce community cohesion, and offered city-wide exposure and interest. Activities included lane improvements like improvement of public open space and greening, urban furnishing and cultural programmes. The participatory approach contributes to a broad understanding of issues, raises ownership for the development process amongst the stakeholders, creates a sense of joint responsibility, mobilises and directs available public and private resources and leads to a high level of acceptance of improvement measures amongst all involved. 2 The private sector is a key partner in the planning process: The views and expectations of residents and the private sector were instrumental in defining a vision for the old city in Yangzhou for the next 10 to 20 years. A wide range of activities were undertaken during the preparation of the Urban Upgrading Strategy. During interviews and planning workshops, about 20 estate agents and 5-6 private developers participated. The discussions resulted in several outcomes: - A Local Economic Development Strategy (LED) was developed which offers business opportunities for residents in the old city, including cultural tourism, small and medium scale businesses, maintenance and construction works and the introduction of public-private partnerships in the provision of public services; - Private Sector involvement was encouraged for the conservation and management of cultural heritage through funding by the municipal government; - The privatization of selected houses to involve the private sector in the housing market was promoted through the re-use of unoccupied buildings; - Small private construction enterprises participated in the renovation of 3 houses in this block. 3 Residents directly participate in all aspects of upgrading and directly benefit from the growing economic vitality of their community: The project encouraged participation by following a process-orientation (gradual upgrading) adapted to affordability realities as opposed to the more common large project-oriented manner which is associated with the rapid relocation of many residents from their neighbourhoods and destruction of social networks. By identifying ways to support micro businesses, the strategy helps to secure and increase opportunities to raise the income of residents and reduce urban poverty. Improvement and modernization will gradually attract private investment from outside the Old City, thus stimulating further economic activity. The Upgrading Pilot Project in Shuangdong District directly improved the living conditions of its residents: - The renovation of houses, such as the building structure, street facades, roofs and technical infrastructure in selected houses; - The improvement of public open space through plantings, the introduction of urban furniture and new pavement; - The installation of new infrastructure services; - The strengthening of existing social networks in the Old City. Yangzhou Municipal Government and GTZ had agreed on a subsidy standard for house renovations and under this trial-program renovations of about 40 houses were completed as planned. Small private construction enterprises participated in the renovation of the houses.


The urban upgrading strategy for Yangzhou aims to identify most suitable ways of upgrading existing settlement structures in the urban centre of Yangzhou Municipality, in line with the Municipality’s cultural heritage and the needs of the mostly low-income residents.
1) Contribute to a more sustained approach to city planning that includes management and maintenance issues, and the improvement of standards and techniques for augmenting the living conditions in vast areas of the existing city that are predominantly inhabited by low-income families;  2) Strengthen residents’ ability to improve their living and housing situation;  3) Identify appropriate financial sources and develop adequate financial mechanisms that allow sustainable urban upgrading, including the government, residents and private sector.
Based on a strategic and participatory planning approach, the major activities will include: (i) setting up a steering group, management office and advisory committee for the urban upgrading strategy;  (ii) developing a coherent 10-20 year vision for the future of Yangzhou;  (iii) analysing the socio-economic and environmental situation in the city centre;  (iv) identifying specific objectives and targets to achieve the vision;  (v) developing strategies and action plans for urban upgrading;  (vi) identifying financing requirements and financing schemes/sources;  (vii) evaluating and disseminating results.
Expected Impacts and Results
Lead to a process-oriented modernisation of older city areas, especially the traditional settlement structures; and strengthen residents’ abilities to improve their living and housing conditions with their own resources. The strategy targets several lines of municipal government investment, including in infrastructure, modernisation of public social service facilities, and subsidies for private modernisation of the housing stock.