Research Team from Columbia University Visits and Gives Thumbs Up to WKU Campus

During March 10 to March 15, the project team of “Global Campus Research” made an academic visit to Wenzhou. The team, comprised of thirteen teachers and students from Columbia University of the United States, visited Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU), the town of Kean, the municipal government, and other relevant units. Having examined WKU’s campus design, the team expressed their recognition of its campus planning.

How Can Sino-foreign Joint University Organically Integrate American Campus with Local Urban Planning?

Wenzhou-Kean University is the first higher education institution jointly established by China and the United States in Zhenjiang Province with a vision to become an international university that offers world-class education. Adhering to diverse, innovative and eco-friendly principles, the university organically integrated American modern campus with the urban and landscape planning unique to Wenzhou, gradually building up a university – the trinity of “campus, park, and community” – that is internationalized, modernized, and open-minded. In a bid to form a talent pool, the university joined hands with Ouhai District, where the campus was located, to build the “Kean Town” in a vision of “international education community that is the most distinctive of its kind in China”.

Why is WKU chosen as one of the subjects to Global Campus Research?

Maxine Griffith was a senior advisor to the president of Columbia University and the leader of this project. She told the reporter that Wenzhou-Kean University itself represented a trend in the future that more and more universities were going to blend western and eastern educations in an attempt to attract students from across the world. “During the course of globalization, the deeper understanding and communication we have, and the more students we exchange with each other, the better we will coexist and thrive to solve worldwide common problems.”

The WKU survey was conducted by eleven students who were all graduate students from the Division of Urban Planning of Columbia University. They were divided into three groups – Public Space, Transportation, and Facilities – to collect campus information by distributing questionnaires and interviewing WKU teachers and students. In addition, they went to Li’ao Street of Ouhai District, talked with government departments (including Development and Reform Commission, Planning Bureau, Roads and Traffic Authority, and Policy Research Office), and met with city leadership to discuss the connection between campus construction and urban planning.

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“After participating in this research, I had a comprehensive understanding of campus planning and design. It enlightened me in terms of my own learning as well.” Project member Yichun Qiu, a student at the Division of Urban Planning of Columbia University, told the reporter that in this research every student had all come up with constructive suggestions and ideas on the development of Wenzhou-Kean University’s campus in such respects as: how to coordinate the relationship with local government and with the original residents of Kean Town, how to devise a convenient transport network between WKU and the city, etc.

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The global Campus Research project initiated by Columbia University was said to be kicked off in January and will be finished by May, with suggestions for improvement to be provided in the midterm and final results to be announced at the end of April. Xiaodong Zheng, Vice President of Wenzhou-Kean University, said that WKU was looking forward to new ideas of the campus planning in the future. Suggestions for WKU development as well as for town planning were welcome.

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During his stay at Wenzhou-Kean University, Tom Wright, president of Regional Plan Association for Greater New York, delivered a lecture on Enlightenment from Regional Plan for Greater New York to WKU faculties and students with an all-round introduction to the fourth regional plan of New York metropolitan region launched by the Regional Plan Association for New York, centered on four essential topics “economic opportunity, hospitability, sustainability, governance and finance” proposed by New York metropolitan region.

Source | Zhejiang News; Wenzhou News