AIA YAF Connection interviews with Ping Jiang on New Urban Agenda

Recently, Ping Jiang, AIA, founding principal of EID Architecture, was interviewed by AIA National Young Architects Forum's Connection Journal to share his experience working  on international urban design projects overseas. Connection is the official journal of the AIA National Young Architects Forum in collaboration with the AIA College of Fellows. The special issue focuses on the New Urban Agenda and explores how architecture can affect the urban fabric of a city.





AIA YAF: How are some of the urban issues you see overseas different from here in the US? 

Jiang: Prior to establishing EID Architecture, I had worked in Chicago for about 10 years on domestic and international projects, mostly in Europe and the Middle East. The urban issues we are dealing with overseas now have to do with the extreme high density and rapid growth pattern. We see many large-scale transit-oriented developments ongoing, and new districts under developing at remarkably fast pace.





AIA YAF: How can architecture support the New Urban Agenda?

As architecture defines the essential components of urban fabric, it can support the New Urban Agenda in many aspects. In our projects, we have always been interested in creating open space that is inclusive and accessible. This can be extremely challenging when we are designing in the context of high-density Asian urban developments. One of our recent projects which is under construction, Shimao Hangzhou Wisdom Towers, centers around an open green space. We maximize the public space by freeing up the site more and minimizing the commercial use on the ground level. Another example is a newly completed project, ZJCD Innovation Park, we worked closely with the client and planning department to improve the master planning of this sustainable campus for technology companies, it fosters a strong sense of community and enhances a park-like workplace environment.





AIA YAF: What is your definition of a good urban design project?

We have completed quite a few urban design projects lately, and we are also known for designing large scale urban mixed-use developments in China. This type of developments is essentially “a city within a city”. For us, a good urban design project needs to address the urban issues holistically. These issues include sound financial positioning, integration of infrastructure and transportation, strengthening and improving urban planning framework, promoting sustainable building and community. Ultimately, it comes down to creating adaptive and resilient designs for healthier buildings and cities.



Note: The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016. The agenda represents a shared vision for a better and more sustainable future worldwide.