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Tongji project is selected into social chapter of Shanghai Manual 2020 Annual Report

November 13, 2020

How powerful is a small seed? The Shanghai Manual 2020 Annual Report was released at the recent 2020 World Cities Day Shanghai Observance and the Global Cities Forum, in which 20 classic cases were included. Among them, "Shanghai SEEDING: Rebuilding Trust, Sowing Hope," initiated by LIU Yuelai, a Tongji scholar in the Landscape Department of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, became the only Chinese case that has been selected into the social chapter of the Report and one of the two selected Shanghai cases. This project shows how a small seed can become a bond to build community trust and warmth during the pandemic.

Community children participating in making Mobile Seed Arks

The seed relay station of the environmentally friendly egg version made by activists

In February 2020, LIU Yuelai's team members, who have been deeply involved in the community garden for many years, saw the distrust between people and fear brought about by the pandemic prevention, and then wanted to use seeds to let people "rebuild trust and sow hope." LIU said if the community garden solves the "last mile" of community participation issue, the SEEDING plan is trying to solve the "last meter" of neighbor trust problem. Even at home, the balcony garden is an important part of the urban environment, just like the community green space and city parks. No matter where it is, as long as it is jointly constructed by residents, it is a "community garden."

The seed relay station of the cartoon handmade version made by activists

The Seed Relay Station Toolkit

According to LIU, SEEDING intends to use seed sowing make people who continue to prevent pandemics be able to see the hope of spring breaking through windows, balconies, terraces, and corridors. Meanwhile, seed sharing can be a medium to encourage people to let down their inner guards bit by bit to become the empathic experience of working hand in hand to prevent pandemics, while laying the foundation for a better development of community relations. LIU imagined the goal of the next in-depth action like this:


Every community actor is a seed with their own energy, which can break through in the cold and take root to construct a life community interactively. People’s cities are built by the people, and the basic unit of the people’s city is the people’s community. This is how the people’s city is built and perfected, bit by bit.


It is reported the Shanghai Manual: A Guideline for Sustainable Urban Development of the 21st Century was compiled as an inheritance of the spirit of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and was officially released in 2011. With the theme, “Valuing Our Communities and Cities,” this year's manual selects 20 vivid and informative global cases to illustrate the value of communities and cities to human life.