Building bridges and shaping cities: from Breda to Anyang

Building bridges and shaping cities: from Breda to Anyang

12/04/2023 - 14:40

From 10 to 24 November, Built Environment and Logistics (ABEL) staff members Letty Zhu, Loek Hellebrekers, Maurizio Scarciglia, Thomas Oorschot, and Don Guikink, embarked on a visit to the Anyang Institute of Technology (AIT) in China. Since 2019, ABEL has been actively supporting AIT's Urban Design teaching programme by incorporating modules from its own Built Environment course. Here's a brief overview of their recent visit.
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During the trip, Don and Letty were engaged in coordinating the extension of the partnership and exploring potential collaborations with other universities. Meanwhile, Loek, Maurizio, and Thomas spearheaded a LAB project at the university, where students delved into making the campus more intelligent or transforming an old textile factory into a new area. The "LAB-way" of teaching proved to be inspirational for the Chinese audience. Letty also delivered a compelling lecture on cross-cultural differences between Europe and China.

Reflecting on the history of the collaboration, some colleagues had a memorable visit in 2019 and were eager to reconnect with lecturers and students after the challenges posed by COVID lockdowns and four years of online teaching. Working with AIT has proven to be challenging for ABEL lecturers, pushing their intercultural competencies to the limit in terms of food, language, and habits. Over the years, nearly 20 different ABEL colleagues have contributed to the partnership's implementation.

Looking ahead, the Built Environment domain aims to incorporate more Chinese case studies into its education. Additionally, there is a shift from teaching students to teaching lecturers, fostering independence. Lastly, ABEL seeks to explore joint research activities in the ongoing partnership with AIT.

The collaboration with AIT is financially supported by the Chinese Ministry of Education and has garnered positive recognition from authorities in Henan Province. A continuation of the collaboration for another five years is expected, and discussions will be held between BUas, AIT, and the Province regarding the extension.