Integrated Urban-Rural Planning and Governance:
A Global Perspective

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

First international conference within the framework of the Sino-German research and development project Urban-Rural Assembly (URA)

© Jörg Gläscher

You can watch the recorded livestream videos of this conference at

In China, and many other countries across the world, rapid urbanisation processes have produced unevenly developed landscapes made up of urban growth centres along infrastructural corridors, as well as disadvantaged (formerly rural) hinterlands. Emerging socio-spatial polarisations marked by demographic, socio-cultural, economic, and environmental disparities become most strikingly visible at the urban-rural interface. Furthermore, dysfunctional urban-rural linkages have been increasingly recognised as one of the major obstacles in the path towards a more future-oriented and sustainable urbanisation model.

A first step towards addressing such challenges should be the acknowledgment of the trans-local and multi-dimensional conditions of urban-rural regions and the metabolic relationships of natural resource flows, ecosystemic infrastructures, and multi-directional mobilities. These emerging and complex urban-rural constellations require new analytical models, integrated planning approaches, and policy frameworks that can assist in reading, revealing, and steering inherent urban-rural potentials and challenges, and that include relevant actors, institutions and processes acting across administrational and sector boundaries.

The first international conference within the framework of the Sino-German research and development project Urban-Rural Assembly (URA) takes this as a starting point towards a global exploration of the political, ecological and social relevance of integrated approaches in urban-rural planning and governance. The conference will bring together international researchers, practitioners, city and regional representatives, policy makers, and global networks such as ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and UN-Habitat to discuss diverse cases from China, Europe, Africa, and Latin America. It will shed light on current development challenges, new experimental approaches towards integrated urban-rural development, and the possibility of knowledge transfer and transnational learning.


Welcome and Introduction
Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Director, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Chair of Habitat Unit, Department for International Urbanism and Design, TU Berlin
Prof. Dr. Guiqing Yang, CAUP Tongji University Shanghai
Representative of the People’s Government of Taizhou Municipality, China
Susanna Karawanskij, Secretary of State, Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture, Free State of Thuringia, Erfurt (video statement)

Keynote Lecture
Dr. Remy Sietchiping, Chief of Policy, Legislation and Governance Section, UN-Habitat, Nairobi

Responding Statements
Angela Penagos, Director of RIMISP Colombia, Centro Latino Americano para el Desarrollo Rural, Bogota
Prof. Dr. Zhao Min, Honorary Professor in Urban Planning, Tongji University Shanghai
Dr. Marta Doehler-Behzadi, Managing Director of International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thuringia, Apolda
Hannes Langguth, Researcher at Habitat Unit, Department for International Urbanism and Design, TU Berlin

Panel Discussion
moderated by Philipp Misselwitz, TU Berlin and Guiqing Yang, Tongji University Shanghai

This online event is part of a two-day digital conference that has been organised by the URA research consortium led by Habitat Unit at TU Berlin and CAUP at Tongji University Shanghai, and that will be hosted by ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin (September 23) and IBA Thuringia (September 24). This conference marks the kick-off of a series of conferences co-hosted with UN-Habitat, which aim to promote a global urban-rural guiding framework for further research and action. URA is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the programme Sustainable Development of Urban Regions (NUR). Detailed project information and the full programme of the two-day conference can be viewed at

In collaboration with
Technische Universität Berlin
Tongji University Shanghai
Shanghai University
Zhejiang University Hangzhou
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) Dresden
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, East Asia Secretariat, Seoul
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Nairobi
International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thuringia, Apolda



urbanruralassembly. com


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