Early Career Researcher Workshop: Ecological Urban Design

Start Date
04 December 2012
End Date
06 December 2012
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
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The 3rd Early Career Researchers (ECR) Workshop will be held from 5 to 6 December 2012 at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, on the theme of "Merging Theory into Practice: Ecological Urban Design".

This event is a cross-disciplinary workshop to allow for open discussions between academics from diverse and complementary research backgrounds (the majority of participants would be expected to come from humanities and design background), to contribute to the definition of ecological civilization and apply it to real-life design projects. 


Theory: Ecological Civilization

The survival and development of humankind have been increasingly threatened by ecological crises triggered by environmental pollution, global warming, ecological deterioration and resource exhaustion. To tackle the severe challenges faced by humanity and to remedy all the ills and defects brought about by industrial civilization, a new concept, namely ecological civilization has come into being.

How to define ecological civilization and how to do research in this area has become an urgent issue for scholars in various academic fields worldwide. At present, several early career researchers from the School of Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University are collecting relevant data and work on the topic looking at its definition, origin, evolution, values, political systems, practices and evaluation system. The U21 2012 ECR workshop will provide a global platform for early career academics with different professional backgrounds to exchange views and present their research achievements in this area. 


Open Discussion on the Definition of Ecological Civilization

Since people have different understandings of the concepts of ecology and civilization, they tend to have different definitions of ecological civilization. Some define it as the goal of creating a balanced eco-system (human beings included); some define it from the perspective of sustainable development; others deem that ecological civilization is not just about a better relation between human beings and nature, but that it also entails work to improve our connection with society. Many see ecological civilization as not merely a local socio-economic phenomenon, but rather a socio-economic formation, a new form of human civilization above agricultural and industrial civilizations. Ecological civilization refers to the virtuous cycle of economy, society and ecology and is an important benchmark of the overall development of the human society. 


The Workshop 

The workshop will be a mix of presentations, discussion sessions and group design exercises - and will draw on case studies and local information wherever possible to ensure the relevance of ecological civilization theory and practice. Cross-disciplinary discussions and group work emphasize the interactive nature of urban design practice and thinking. It is not aimed at producing 'trained' urban designers but it encourages cross-disciplinary discussions and augments the skills of ECRs from a range of disciplines and cultures, so that they will be better prepared to assess the design proposals and consider the implications of design decisions from an ecological perspective. 

In the two-day workshop, there will also be ECR skills training session and a poster session for ECRs to present their ideas on ecological civilization reflecting their own research.


Early career academics in all disciplines are welcome to join, especially those in Humanities, Geography, Environment, Architecture, Urban Planning and Civil Engineering, and who were awarded their PhD within the last 8 years.  This definition is flexible, with each university having the discretion to nominate ECRs who fall outside this definition, due to an atypical career path, including those who have:

  • started the research-intensive component of their career later
  • had career breaks
  • spent time in industry
How To Register

Registration for this event is by nomination from your institution. 

Each university may nominate five early career researchers: two guaranteed nominees and three reserve nominees. The top two ECRs on each university’s list of nominees are guaranteed a place. Depending on availability, further places may be offered to the reserve nominees. Each university must agree to cover travel and accommodation costs for all five nominees. 

Nominations must be received by 30 September 2012.

SJTU will provide all materials required, refreshments, and lunch on 5 and 6 December, as well as a welcome dinner on 5 December.


Accommodation is located on Hengshan Road in the downtown area, two options are suggested with negotiated prices, one is Hengshan Hotel, the other is Jiangong Jingjiang Hotel, which are very close (five minutes’ walk). Breakfast and free wifi are included in the price for residents of both hotels. We will arrange shuttle bus transfer from the hotel to campus. 

Please complete the hotel booking form (at the bottom of this page), and return to Ms Shushu Li by the 14 October.

Dr Gemma Marakas