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News Release


Finding the Balance in Urban Regeneration

​Whitepaper on China-UK Urban Regeneration in cooperation with JLL released

Beijing, January 22nd, 2018 – The balance between preserving a city's essence and injecting new energy through urban regeneration is at the center of JLL's (NYSE: JLL) latest whitepaper. The report, China-UK Urban Regeneration & Stock Upgrade, looks at the opportunities and challenges presented by urban renewal, examining existing models from the UK and looking at how China is breaking new ground as it seeks to improve its cities.

The whitepaper is released as a key feature of the founding ceremony of the China-UK Urban Regeneration Professional Corporation Committee at the China-UK Summit of Regeneration. The Committee gathers highly experienced, executive and senior level professionals from commercial real estate sector, aims to further promote cooperation, improve communication and establish industry standards between China and UK regarding this field.

As a founding director of the Committee, Julien Zhang, Managing Director of JLL North China, participates in the Summit being held at the British Ambassador's Residence in Beijing. Zhang moderates one of the event's main panel discussions, Opportunities and Challenges of Urban Regeneration and Property Upgrading, using his extensive professional industry experience to focus the speakers on the heart of the issue. As he points out, "The ultimate aim of urban regeneration is to create social and economic benefits for the community, using sustainable forms of development to boost land value and optimize how space is used."

Preserving Memory Lane

The whitepaper discusses the three main elements which successful regeneration of an urban area should fulfil. Among these it explores the continuation of collective memory, since urban areas in particular often contain buildings and spaces which serve as important emotional anchors for local residents. By retaining influential buildings or a certain architectural style, developers can still imbue residents with a sense of belonging and shared history, even in a newly built project.

The UK introduced legislation in the latter half of the 20th century to protect historic buildings and areas. Places such as Covent Garden and Soho are good examples of this, retaining their sense of history while still keeping step with the times. When it comes to China, legal protection of areas is a relatively new concept, but in recent years developers have increasingly begun to follow this path of their own accord. For instance, the use of a specific street size and style in Taikoo Li Chengdu were designed to strengthen the collective memory of the old city for local Sichuanese.

Keeping the Spirit Strong

The second element that the whitepaper explores is the idea of preserving the spirit of a site. As urbanization proceeds from an era of incremental development to one of optimizing existing stock, industrial site renovation has become a centerpiece of urban renewal. Sites which would once have been considered an eyesore are now being repurposed and celebrated.

In the UK, London's Battersea Power Plant was partially preserved and renovated, since becoming home to some of the world's tech giants. In China, the 798 Art District and 77 Theatre complex in Beijing, and Shanghai's Dream Center and Cool Docks, have all been transformed from industrial sites into areas of cultural innovation which proudly display their industrial roots. These renovated industrial sites have preserved the original urban texture, while also providing fertile soil for cultural innovation and creativity.

Injecting New Vitality

Another element the whitepaper considers are the ways in which urban regeneration serves to inject new vitality in to an area. An example cited is the British government's plan for the urban renewal of Glasgow's inner-city slums from the 1980s. Rather than merely upgrading living environment, the provision of job opportunities for those in poverty helped to increasing their income level and solve social problems as well. Such strategies have become key element in the sustainable development of disadvantaged urban pockets.

In China, policy has evolved from a rigid relocation, planning and construction model to a softer approach which considers regional systems and how to organically renew microcirculation. This has accelerated a restructuring of run-down areas which has been guided by the government but implemented through the market. JLL's work across a range sectors, from residential, to office space, to retail leasing, mean that the company are a key part of urban regeneration currently being seen in Chinese cities.

The China-UK Summit of Regeneration is hosted by the British Embassy, the UK's Department for International trade, and the International Federation of Finance & Real Estate (IFFRE). The IFFRE is the first professional federation in China focusing on commercial real estate and real estate finance sectors, and Zhang is one of the organization's standing directors. "At JLL, our aim is to fully understand the historical background of urban renewal as well as working in step with current government policy, so that we can make a positive contribution to the cities in which we work, as well as helping our clients achieve their ambitions."

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About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. A Fortune 500 company, JLL helps real estate owners, occupiers and investors achieve their business ambitions. In 2017, JLL had revenue of $7.9 billion and fee revenue of $6.7 billion; managed 4.6 billion square feet, or 423 million square meters; and completed investment sales, acquisitions and finance transactions of approximately $170 billion. At the end of 2017, JLL had nearly 300 corporate offices, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of 82,000.  As of December 31, 2017, LaSalle had $58.1 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with over 37,000 employees operating in 96 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm won the ‘World’s Best’ and ‘Best in Asia Pacific’ International Property Consultancy at the International Property Awards in 2016 and was named number one real estate investment advisory firm in Asia Pacific for the sixth consecutive year by Real Capital Analytics​.​​  

In Greater China, the firm was named ‘Best Property Consultancy in China’ at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2016, and has more than 2,200 professionals and 14,000 on-site staff providing quality real estate advice and services in over 80 cities across the country​​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​