Toolbox in Action

The toolbox in practice in the context of seven regeneration initiatives across Europe & Asia


Xinhua CDC Shanghai

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China as part of the EU-China collaboration in Horizon 2020, the Shanghai ‘semi-pilot’ activities are ancillary to the T-Factor project, enabling it to facilitate extensive knowledge exchange and collaborative co-creation endeavours in the realm of urban regeneration, adding a transnational and comparative perspective.. This strategic partnership harnesses the diverse expertise and resources from both the EU and China, fostering innovation and sustainable development practices to address pressing urban challenges.

It is worth knowing that the funding for Shanghai semi-pilot will continue till the end of 2025, therefore portfolio actions and intervention on the site will continue; updates are being published on the WeChat Official account “T-Factor Shanghai”.

The label of “semi-pilot” include the peculiarity that Shanghai is not participating to T-Factor with a specific redevelopment site; instead, three areas of urban regeneration have been identified in the city and are the current stage of research implementation and development: Xinhua Community Design Centre (Xinhua CDC), NICE2035 Future Life Prototype Street, MeetU Lab at KIC.

  • Xinhua CDC is a co-creation space which encourages residents to communicate, collaborate and participate in community governance. It’s also a learning space to grow social innovation. CDC is run by the social enterprise “Big Fish” (Dayu) in collaboration with the local government of Changning District, and it aims to build a democratic community life cycle and participatory community development hub. CDC concept is that by involving residents in discussions on public affairs, space management and activities, community evolution, the citizens will be more pro-actively involved in long term maintenance and development.
  • NICE 2023 Community is a large-scale urban regeneration project involving Tongji University and the local district in the experimentation of a model of (N)neighbourhood based on (I)nnovation, (C)reativity and (E)ntrepreneurship. At the current stage, a residential area in which lane houses, small business, start-up accelerator are gathered in buildings whose renovation is managed by the University. Moreover, a 3km long road on the West side of Tongji University Campus is hosting several experiments of placemaking.
  • Meetu Lab emerged as the concept of a street laboratory where research projects from the University can spillover from campus and root in temporary spaces within the community. It was launched in Daxue Rd. 47, originally a second-hand mobile phone store that was vacant for about a month. Since its inception, MeetU Lab has been moving around the neighbourhood of Daxue Rd. and relocating its activities and projects in different venues. It currently fills a vacant lift atrium in the nearby shopping centre.

Challenges and Opportunities for Meanwhile intervention

The three sites differ in the governance model, spanning from full participatory engagement in case in Xinhua CDC (where the community is fully engaged in the transformation of the space), the entrepreneurial model of NICE2035 where the alliance of local government and University build scenarios of citizens engagement, and the hybrid model of MeetU Lab as a creative mobile laboratory of temporary urban practices, supported by the management of the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) innovation and commercial park.

At this stage, alongside the implementation of temporary uses, the Shanghai team is developing the mission based on the Theory of Change for the three pilot sites. We have two clusters of missions, one based on the model of governance and one based on the activities that characterise the activation of temporary uses of the sites. This comparative and parallel approach helps us to elaborate on the China-specific definition of “temporary uses” and “temporary spaces”.

City: Shanghai

Country: People’s Republic of China

Location: Changning District (Xinhua Jiedao), Yangpu District (Siping Jiedao and Jiangwan Jiedao)

Investment: support by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China (€0.2M) and smaller ad-hoc investments from local government (€0.3M)

Timeline: 2022-2025