2014 XMNR IR – Sustainable Housing

With a growing population, and rapid urbanization exacerbating resource scarcity and climate change, the need for advancing sustainable housing development practices is paramount. Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) students with Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) travelled to Yunnan Province, China in the spring of 2014 to observe the rapid development in Dali and Shangri-La and to collect data and examine opportunities for tourism to be an effective strategy for sustainable development. Aligned with CLiGS’ mission, the Sustainable Housing team sought to understand the social, environmental, and economic forces driving development in the region.

The team partnered with the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Housing Knowledge Community to determine best practices for future development, focusing on the geographic, cultural, economic, and spiritual influences that drive housing development. They provided further guidance to AIA’s Housing Knowledge Community for partnership and collaboration building in the region, which is seeking more information regarding residential housing development and preservation. To meet these needs, the Sustainable Housing team conducted stakeholder analyses in Dali and Shangri-La, providing AIA with a multi-sector assessment.

Additionally, the Sustainable Housing team provided project ideas for Dali University’s School of Architecture, a budding program with support from regional, provincial, and state governments. The project ideas fall into the following broad categories:

  • Cultural preservation
  • Social structure
  • Building construction
  • Site design
  • Capstone which focuses on ecotourism resort design

Together, the project ideas provide Dali University’s architecture students an opportunity to play an instrumental role in the community’s sustainable development, while also preserving the region’s cultural, social, and historic heritage.

To read the team’s complete findings and the project suggestion, read Sustainable Housing in Yunnan: An Overview and Sustainable Housing in Yunnan: Project Ideas for Dali University of Architecture.