文章来源：俞孔坚. 生态修复：一场改善中国城市和实现美丽中国梦的“运动”[J].景观设计学, 2017,5(5), 4-9.
Ecological Restoration: A Movement to Improve Chinese Cities and Realize the Beautiful China Dream
In China, national and top-down “movements” seem to be necessary to promptly address adverse and systematic events which are closely related to people’s life. Were they discussed without the context of China’s urban and rural communities, it is difficult to understand the history and development of these types of movements, such as the “Sponge City Construction” and “Urban Remediation and Ecological Restoration.” The movement of ecological restoration has been positive and necessary in China, and the role and contribution of landscape architect in these movements continue to evolve.
The movements of Sponge City Construction and Urban Remediation and Ecological Restoration are driven by the central government’s awareness of environmental problems in urban areas. As over 50% of the total population lives in urban spaces, criticism and dissatisfaction about urban ecological and environmental issues will begin to threaten social stability and national security. In response to this concern, the nationwide Urban Remediation and Ecological Restoration movement was launched with support from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). Sanya in Hainan Province was selected as the first pilot city that provides me, a participant in the movement, an opportunity to objectively record current ecological restoration processes in China.
On November 8, 2012, the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China approved the “Beautiful China Construction” program, which emphasized eco-civilization construction, alongside economic, political, cultural, and social development.
On July 20, 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping made a speech at the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference in Guiyang in which he pointed out that to build the Beautiful China in the era of eco-civilization is significant to achieving the great rejuvenation of China. The key role of Beautiful China Construction to the realization of China’s rejuvenation was emphasized by the central government.
Later, on November 15, 2013, in the document of Explanatory Notes for the Decision of the CCCPC on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform, General Secretary Xi expounded the importance of the mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, and lakes to a life community. He argues that the spaces in which humans survive are interdependent; humans depend on farmlands, the farmlands on rivers, the rivers on mountains, the mountains on lands, and the lands on trees. He further pointed out that “land use regulation and ecological restoration must respect the laws of Nature…. A new centralized governmental agency should be set up to lead, manage, and coordinate the affairs related to the usage of the entire territory of China, carrying out unified natural resources protection and restoration programs at a national scale.” Thereby, significance and necessity of ecological restoration in Beautiful China Construction was underlined again with a clear administrative vision.
On December 12, 2013, on the Central Urbanization Work Conference, General Secretary Xi pointed out the urgent need to integrate cities with their natural environment in support of existing landscapes, “letting people see mountain, see water, and remember the nostalgia.” Moreover, he emphasized that in urban planning and construction, natural systems should be carefully conserved, rather than destroyed. “Breaking natural systems during urban construction, such as excessive concrete flooring, which causes decreases in woodlands, grasslands, lakes, and wetlands has become a core reason for urban water shortages. When natural water circulation is blocked, new rainwater contributes to urban flooding and is drained as sewage while unwisely pumping groundwater for daily supplies, causing huge resource waste and abuse….” To solve the problem of water shortage in cities, urban designers and landscape architects must comply with natural topography and vegetation. For example, to conserve stormwater, the Sponge City model helps store, infiltrate and purify rainwater. For this reason, Sponge City construction has become a key strategy in urban ecological restoration.
In February 2014, the Work Focus of Urban Construction Division of MOHURD again proposed to improve ecological urban inhabitation, to strengthen integrated urban management, to prevent and manage urban environmental problems, to promote healthy urbanization, and to accelerate research on policies and strategies for Sponge City Construction. Subsequently, sixteen Sponge City pilot locations were selected. It can be seen as a substantive action of the central government in implementing the movement.
In April 2015, Zhenggao Chen, the Minister of MOHURD, proposed advancing the idea of “Urban Remediation and Ecological Restoration” during a visit to Hainan Province. The city of Sanya was selected as a pilot location for exploring the idea. Qi Zhang, Party Secretary of Sanya, has stated that this pilot project will significantly influence overall wellbeing of the city, and encourage participation from all citizens. Ecological restoration has been regarded as an approach to improve people’s living standards and to realize the vision of Beautiful China with public engagement.
In December 2015, General Secretary Xi made a speech at the Central Urban Work Conference, which stressed sticking to people-oriented urban development as a way to balance efficient and intensive production, comfortable living, and beautiful ecological environments. “Making a sound living environment visible and functional in the city,” what he noted. The research and pilot project led by MOHURD in Sanya have received support from the central government, and the project is supposed to be a prime paradigm for nationwide ecological restoration and Sponge City Construction.
Finally, on December 10, 2016, the Conference of National Ecological Restoration and Urban Remediation was held in Sanya in celebration of the pilot program’s achievements. After the one-and-a-half-year pilot project in Sanya, several urban ecological restoration projects emerged, including the Sanya Mangrove Park and the East Coast Wetland Park. With these projects, the ecological and economic environment of Sanya has greatly improved. Construction of the East Coast Wetland Park has increased surrounding real estate price by 150%, for example. Municipal leaders who visited Sanya’s pilot projects brought ideas and strategies back to their home cities, and a series of Ecological Restoration and Urban Remediation projects have been launched throughout the country.
The Sanya pilot project is an example of the national ecological restoration movement, demonstrating the central government’s vision for improving people’s living quality and realizing the Beautiful China Dream. This dream can be achieved through the gradual development of pilot projects in hundreds of Chinese cities, and through state regulation and public engagement. Landscape architects have an important role to play in assisting municipal leaders and decision makers with appropriate ideas and approaches of ecological restoration to promote the national movement.