Canada Wood organizes a research trip on wood construction in Huzhou
August 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the Two Mountains Theory, which is embodied by the slogan “lucid water and lush mountains are invaluable assets” meaning that the economy should not be developed at the cost of the environment. During this month, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) and Canada Wood China (CW China) organized a research trip to the birthplace of the Two Mountains Theory, the city of Huzhou. Huzhou is located within the Yangtze River Delta, in an area called the South Taihu Lake New Area. Covering 225 square kilometers, this area was designated as one of the four New Areas in the Zhejiang Great Bay Area, which is an economic belt in Zhejiang province being developed as a world-class industrial hub. By the end of November 2019, 58 projects have been launched in the South Taihu New Area, representing 13.2 billion RMB ($2.5 billion CAD).
During this trip, FII and CW China organized a few site visits with the Yangtze River Delta Culture & Tourism Institute of the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (YRD-CAUPD). The group visited wood construction projects in the Mogan Mountain region in the west of Huzhou. This opportunity gave YRD-CAUPD first-hand experience with the beauty of wood architectural design and engineering, and interviews with the owner of those projects gave insight on the business operation incentives of wood projects for the tourism industry.
A boutique 14-room hotel renovated from a century-old rural family house in Mogan Mountain
Following the site visits, FII and CW China organized a seminar with the South Taihu Administrative Committee and the YRD-CAUPD. CW China has been working with YRD-CAUPD to develop this research for a white book that is putting together recommendations on wood frame construction (WFC) from the perspective of urban planning and design. With the determination to pursue a sustainable economic development model, these wood constructions projects serve as strong examples of the possibilities for other regions, with the province of Zhejiang regarded in China as being at the forefront of environmental protection. This research aligns with the ongoing work of CW China in the area of Culture, Tourism, Wellness and Elderly-care (CTWE). Following efforts in China to improve Culture & Tourism as a core industry for the country’s GDP, CW China has developed this category as one of the key marketing campaigns for wood in China. Working to increase awareness of the applications for WFC in these sectors, CW China has developed new collaborations with regional government bureaus such as the South Taihu New Area. The seminar in Huzhou was also joined by urbanization consultants and local state-owned land developers.
The roundtable discussion at the seminar on WFC in Huzhou
At the seminar, the Deputy Party Secretary for South Taihu Area, Mr. Shen Yinghua said that the area will continue to implement the “Two Mountains” theory, in which clear waters and lush mountains are maintained as invaluable assets comparable to the gold and silver mountains of legend. This concept will serve as a guideline for the development of the area as a demonstration zone for ecological construction. CW China presented many case studies of wood projects in the culture & tourism sector, and clarified the current status of the codes and standards for WFC in China following the work of CW China with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural development (MOHURD) in Beijing. These WFC projects, as presented by CW China and endorsed by YRD-CAUPD, present an ideal solution for the ambitious programs in this region.