The works presented in the exhibition “GBA 2030+ Ecologies and Projections” closes our second year of research on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. This new mega region on the Pearl River Delta gradually will be activated and will re-define its modes of functions until the total unification of Hong Kong to China in 2040. The GBA area is considered the most fast growing region in human history, accommodating round 14 percent of China GDP, with an expected population of 100 million people by 2030 and covering a total area of 56000 square kilometers. It consists of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR) as well as the municipalities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province.

The project is a joint program of Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Urban Environment, Department of Urbanism; The Polythecnic University of Hong Kong PolyU Design; and supported by the International Forum of Urbanism [IFoU].

The emergence of ‘mega’ urban-scapes and their regional agglomeration into urbanised areas of over 70 million – at least an order of magnitude larger than has ever been planned before - has reframed many conventional challenges of the spatial planning agenda. With the mega region in formation, a new necessity emerges, that being the investigation of the dynamic, morphogenetic and ecosystemic properties specific to the local and regional conditions. The integration of eleven significantly sized cities and their corresponding metropolitan hinterlands, three special economic or administrative regions, three currencies, and different cultural groups into one urban regional entity is a complex undertaking. At present, aside from the governance and policy intentions this has primarily resulted in an infrastructural planning approach, one that utilizes a systemic top-down approach that seeks to provide the connective tissues and reticules, as well as civic and economic systems that mobilize people, capital and goods in such a vast region. This approach is akin to the smart city models, which seek to enfold all aspects of civic life within infrastructure systemic control paradigms. However, given the scope and scale of this undertaking, the modalities of planning in the GBA need to shift from an extensive planned realm in which every part coheres to a plan, to one of a differentiated field in which diverse intensities arise as an effect of their urban eco-system integration (or its lack of).

The complexity of the planning task ahead urgently asks for inclusive approaches, concepts and development strategies able to respond to the vulnerabilities and potentialities of this consolidating mega-region on the Pearl River Delta in dynamic, open-ended ways that can foster new modalities of planning. Therefore, the spatial planning and design disciplines need to critically reconsider their role whilst developing critical and non-conventional analytical tools and development models to address the socio-economic and environmental challenges, whilst at the same time projecting possible future inclusive and equitable scenarios.

In this light, the projects here presented are addressing these challenges by exploring a non-conventional set of methodologies so to evaluate and forecast the complexity involved in this emerging form and processes of mega-regional development. The projects seek an alignment between the natural systems (that are expressed into different spatio-temporal scales) and the concomitant interaction of scalar sensitive functional networks of each metropolitan system and its patterns of inhabitation.

Outlined here are the outcomes of scenario testing and proposition formulation in the field of spatial planning, landscape architecture and urban design on a mega scale region of the GBA. This is done through the introduction of game boarding methodologies (PolyU HK) and cross-disciplinary approaches. As a point of departure, the work shown challenges the way strategic planning becomes instrumental as a speculative medium in materializing spatial strategies at the regional and territorial scales, inclusive of environmental systems and their even larger scales.

Guided by a consortium of spatial planners, morphologists, regional designers and researchers from TUD and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, PolyU – supported by the International Forum of Urbanism [IFoU] - students of the Master track Urbanism (TUD) organized in 4 groups worked during 10 weeks at: firstly, building a robust theoretical framework so to determine the analytical methods to evaluate the current regional development and forecast a future mega-regional system. Thereafter, starting from the key challenges as expressed in the GBA outline documents from mainland China government (2018) and complemented by an expanded set of new development goals emerged from the analytical findings, each group developed a proposal for the future development of the GBA mega-region.

The studio was structured around and supported by a series of lectures and workshops from the Complex City research group (TUD), the Design of the Urban Fabric research group (TUD), the Delta Urbanism research group (TUD), the Landscape Architecture reseach group (TUD), the Adaptive Urban Transformation (AUT) Joint Research Project (TUD) and PolyU Design (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University). Because of the travelling limitations brought by the COVID 19 pandemic, the 3 weeks IFoU workshop "Game Boarding Regional Development" by PolyU, kindly hosted and guided by PolyU Design in Hong Kong has taken place online.

ARO400-401 | 2020

Studio leader


Studio coordinators

dr. ir. Luisa Maria Calabrese | Delta Urbanism research group
dr. Daniele Cannatella | Landscape Architecture research group
dr. Gregory Bracken | Planning Complex City Region research group
dr. Qu Lei | Complex Planning Complex City Region research group

Studio mentors

TU Delft Team

dr. ir. Luisa Maria Calabrese
dr. Daniele Cannatella
dr. Diego Sepulveda Carmona

PolyU Design Team

dr. Gerhard Bruyns
prof. Peter Hasdell


dr. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin | Water Sensitive Design
dr. Rodrigo Cardoso | Human geography
dr. Caroline Newton | Institutional planning
dr. Arie Romein | Globalization and challenges
prof. Dr. Akkelies van Nes | Space Syntax workshop
dr. Chiara Garau | Space syntax mentor


Zahra Agbaria
Simon Bohun
Jie Chu
Divya Gunnam
Paulius Klicninkas
Chien Yu Lin
Yu Liu
Kinga Murawska
Sanjana Shettigar
Bart Sikkens
Kelvin Saunders
Yun Sun
Yi Zhao
Elzbieta Zdebel
Zhongjing Zhang
Yaqi Wang
Ching Fang Wang


dr. Gerhard Bruyns
prof. Peter Hasdell
Darren Nel - PhD student
Jasmine Zhang Suxin - PhD student
Eveline Peng - PhD student
Kritty Gera - PhD student

dr. Vivian Wang (President)

dr. Steffen Nijhuis
dr. Daniele Cannatella

Dr.ir. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Dr. Fransje Hooimeijer

Credits Exhibition

GBA Beyond 2030+ Ecologies and projections
Globalization Studio ARO400-401 | 2020 TU Delft, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Department of Urbanism + PolyU Design + The International Forum of Urbanism [IFoU]

From Competitiveness to Collaboration: Ching Fang Wang | Jie Chu | Paulius Klicninkas | Yi Zhao. Simbiocity: Chien Yu Lin | Kelvin Saunders| Elzbieta Zdebel | Yu Liu | Yun Sun. Endogenous Integration: Bart Sikkens | Simon Bohun | Yaqi Wang |Zahra Agbaria. Resilient city network: Divya Gunnam | Kinga Murawska | Zhongjing Zhang in collaboration with Sanjana Shettigar

Curated by
dr.ir. Luisa Maria Calabrese | dr. Daniele Cannatella
Globalization Studio team: Simon Bohun | Kinga Murawska | Yun Sun | Zhongjing Zhang | Ching Fang Wang

Webdesign, graphics & photography
dr. Daniele Cannatella

Social media
dr. ir. Luisa Maria Calabrese
dr. Daniele Cannatella
arch. Raffaella Amistà