Since the reform and opening up of China, urban construction has been in the stage of rapid expansion, especially the large-scale residential development and construction. Behind the thriving urban development, some cities have also paid a heavy price, such as the reduction of urban characteristics, the decrease of vitality, and the break of the original residents’ lifestyle and neighborhood relationship.

The national new urbanization construction puts forward “people-oriented” and “ecological civilization”, which requires the transformation of urban development from rough and loose to connotative ecological civilized cities, from emphasizing “quantity” to emphasizing “quality”. “This transformation is not only a strategic issue of urban development and construction at the national level, but also a new problem faced by urban and rural planning disciplines.

As the first major function of the city, how should the planning and construction of the city be people-oriented and reflect the current new urbanization and ecological civilization?

Characteristics of the contemporary background

(1) Change from “incremental planning” to “stock planning

In recent years, some big cities such as Shenzhen and Shanghai have proposed the concept of “stock planning”, and the focus of their urban planning has changed from incremental planning of spatial expansion to stock planning of functional optimization and adjustment of built-up areas.

The residential areas built in the 1970s and 1980s in each city are facing the problem that the internal and external functions and external forms are not adapted to the current pace of urban development and residents’ living requirements, and are in urgent need of a new round of renewal and transformation.

Most of the teaching materials do not contain the content related to the renewal and transformation of old residential areas, therefore, such a teaching system cannot meet the requirements of the social development trend on the knowledge structure of talents.

(2) The coming of the aging society

The definition of aging society is usually defined as when the population of a country or region aged 60 or above accounts for 10% of the total population, or the population aged 65 or above accounts for 7% of the total population, which means that the population of this country or region is in an aging society. information from the National Bureau of Statistics at the end of 2014 shows that the population aged 60 or above accounts for 15.5% of the total population in China, and the population aged 65 or above accounts for 10.1% of the total population.

The Research Report on the Forecast of China’s Population Aging Development Trend published by the Office of the National Working Committee on Aging points out that the aging population will exceed 400 million in 2050, and will continue to stabilize at about 31% in 2051.

It can be seen that China’s aging society is rapidly approaching with irreversible momentum. As the main space for the elderly to live, how to adapt to the needs of the aging society, the teaching of residential planning should make professional education and response to this.

(3) Change of residential market demand

With the development of economy and the improvement of people’s living standard, the concept of living has changed from the pursuit of “survival living” to “high quality living”, which has put forward higher requirements for the landscape environment, green ecological environment, supporting facilities and community neighborhood of residential areas. What people buy is no longer just a house but a perfect community.

The current residential planning education mainly focuses on making students master the planning layout of residential areas, but the design of residential landscape and spatial environment has not been given enough attention from theoretical teaching or curriculum design, and the landscape design lacks systematization, and the design consciousness and concept based on meeting the actual needs of users have not been formed.

Problems of the original teaching mode

(1) Disconnect between principle teaching and curriculum design

The subject of urban and rural planning has strong professional and practical characteristics, therefore, the main courses are generally formulated with two teaching links of principles and course design practice. Course design is the deepening and knowledge experience of planning principle learning.

In the teaching, students often get the task book of residential group design with a blank face, unable to realize the basic principles of residential planning in the design, more difficult to achieve the live learning of knowledge, that is, the phenomenon of the principle to design fault, the teaching effect of course design is poor.

(2) Lack of creativity in landscape design

Students lack of systematic landscape design knowledge system support, especially for the residential landscape environment design knowledge system, therefore, after the students do planning layout, for landscape design is often unable to start, lack of creativity.

In addition, most of the full-time teachers who serve as the course design have professional background in urban planning, they are more evaluation for residential landscape design, and often do not have enough depth for guiding students’ design, and the final landscape environment is mostly a green field, lacking diversity, thus affecting the effect of the final program and failing to achieve the proper functional requirements.

(3) the lack of diversified teaching methods path

Information technology is constantly affecting and changing us, and this is also true for urban planning teaching. Many subject teachers, especially the middle-aged and older teachers born before 70, are weak in their ability to use information technology platform to assist teaching, while the younger generation after 90 is deeply influenced by modern technology, and they are highly dependent on the Internet. Students with active thinking and strong self-awareness prefer and accept the form of real-time interaction with teachers for learning.

The current teaching is still based on face-to-face one-way transmission of classroom teaching, therefore, it is far from meeting the requirements of the current information era.

Teaching ideas adjustment and exploration

(A) Improve the teaching content

First of all, increase the knowledge content of old residential renewal, and pay attention to the role of this part of knowledge in the principle of residential planning. Improve the knowledge system of old district renewal in teaching, not only the concept education of old district planning, but also the design strategy and planning.

It also includes the establishment of specific knowledge systems such as design strategies and planning methods. Emphasize the consideration of traditional residential culture and social issues, and improve the functions and quality of old urban areas in each city through the renewal of old areas, especially those built under the policy of housing allocation in kind before 1998.

Secondly, strengthen education on urban planning response to the aging society. Community aging is an important part of China’s way of aging. In the teaching of settlement planning, the spatial needs of the elderly group are analyzed from the perspective of behavioral psychology to strengthen planning and design responses to their living needs.

Again, strengthen the education of settlement landscape design knowledge system. For example, landscape design courses should be offered before residential planning and design, so as to change landscape design, which is mainly based on how to achieve graphic expression, into space design, which is based on how to be used and felt by residents, in order to meet the current requirements of “high-quality residential areas” and the living needs of residents.

Finally, in the design of construction detailed planning course, the design of new development-based residential planning is changed into the form of three kinds of design tasks, namely, new development of residential areas, renewal of old areas, and planning of old residential areas (or residential areas of specific groups), so that students can choose their own, and later, through the presentation of results, improve the construction of knowledge system of different selected topics.   

(B) Reform of the teaching process

The teaching process is changed from “theory→practice” to “theory→experience→practice”. The setting of “experience” is not only to use live cases for on-site teaching or to let students experience the visual impact brought by real scenes, but also to set questions and teaching objectives from two levels: physical space and residents’ needs and physical space and residents’ spiritual belonging, so that students can go to the site with questions and tasks to experience and research.

In the final reporting session, professional property managers and resident representatives can be invited to participate in the discussion. In this process, students naturally combine theory and practice to pave the way to the course design and make a better design, and also improve students’ research and social investigation ability.

(C) Increase the teaching content of scientific evaluation methods of the program

The era of big data has brought about a great impact on urban planning. In order to better guide urban planning and construction, scholars need data visualization studies and evaluation of physical space. The current analysis of quantitative evaluation of new scenario generation is mainly based on software simulation, data prediction, and comparison with relevant normative limits. For the analysis of the environment of old district renovation mainly through instrumentation or monitoring, the analysis involves sound, light, heat, wind, air quality, soil, etc. These quantitative evaluation knowledge systems and methods can better guide the practice and make the plan and design more convincing and scientific, so the relevant knowledge systems should be properly introduced into urban planning education.


In the future, with the development of new urbanization in China, the solution of urban housing problems will be more complex and the research methods and fields involved will be more diversified.

Therefore, the teaching of urban and rural planning needs to pay close attention to national policies, market orientation, social and economic development, and the needs of residents’ life, strengthen the research of urban and rural planning teaching and practice, cultivate planning talents who meet the practical needs, and promote the improvement and benign development of urban and rural living environment.