Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Elizabeth Hermann

Second Advisor

Colgate Searle


In China, cities such as Yangzhou, which in pre-modern times played central roles in the political, cultural, and economic functioning of the country based on their geographic location, proximity to water-based trade routes, and connections to the imperial court, are today facing uncertain futures due to waterways no longer being critical to trade, and government-driven development being focused on first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. With this, the working-age population migrates from smaller cities toward these urban giants, leaving behind aging relatives, a less robust and diversified economic base, and few attributes other than cultural tourism that can entice people to move back to the city.

This thesis focuses on these historic cities left behind by the modernization process. Specifically, it looks at Yangzhou and asks what a viable future might be — one that leverages the city’s unique assets, in particular its extensive water infrastructure, rich cultural heritage, existing population, and water-facing post-industrial landscapes. It proposes an integrated strategy focused on ecological sustainability, new water-dependent industries, and hydrological connectedness that reuses these waterfront landscapes in a way that reinvigorates the economic and cultural scaffolding of the city.



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