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1.FUTURE GENERATION FORUM in the IFoU 2020 Virtual Conference


Given the ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19, the IFoU board and the organizing team from Nanjing University have reached consensus on organizing the 2020 conference scheduled in 9-12 October to online platforms. In light of our conference theme “Urbanism in the Mobile Internet Era”, we envisions the upcoming virtual conference as an opportunity rather than an obstacle in fostering and enhancing interregional communication and cooperation through the digital technologies brought by the new era. Thus, decision on switching IFoU2020 conference to Online Platforms.

THEME: VIRTUAL Urbanism in the Mobile Internet Era

The FUTURE GENERATION FORUM will be focused on new themes arising with the emerging virtual social and geo-spatial relations in the mobile internet era, especially related to new conditions in the global COVID-19 pandemic. New models of remote working, e-commerce, distance education, telemedicine and etc. have revolutionized the resource allocation pattern among urban and suburban/rural areas, thus ushering in a new paradigm of VIRTUAL urbanism that will cast profound influences in the future built environment. We invite participants and papers to reflect on the impacts brought by the ongoing virtual revolution, and to boldly envision upcoming opportunities and challenges in the design of urban/rural built environment in the mobile internet era. Specifically, participants are encouraged to investigate how the future built environment in the virtual urbanism could be more RESILIENT, better SHARED, GREENER, and more INCLUSIVE in both physical and virtual ways.


The FUTURE GENERATION FORUM welcomes future-oriented research findings under the general framework of the IFoU2020 conference. We especially support those from early-career researchers and graduate students.

(Due to time overlaps during the conference, those who have been accepted to the IFoU2020 regular paper panels are not advised to submit proposals again.)

The abstract submitted shall not exceed 200-300 words in English, while the full paper will be limited to 4500-6000 words in English.


 Abstract Submission: 10 JUNE 2020

 Review Result Announcement: 30 JUNE 2020

 Full Paper Submission: 10 AUGUST 2020


All the authors accepted to the FUTURE GENERATION FORUM will present their papers through VITRUAL platforms (Zoom, Ding Talk, etc.) during the IFoU2020 conference, as all the other conference participants will do.


The full papers submitted to the FUTURE GENERATION FORUM will have chance to be published in the conference proceedings and distinguished international and national journals in collaboration. They will also be considered for a special category within the Best Paper Award of the IFoU2020 conference.


THEME: E-Garden City: Design for a more Ecological and Habitable Future

As a new spatial unit in the digital age, the Taobao village/town emerges as a combination of advanced internet technologies and less-developed rural/suburban space, which has ushered in new paradigms for rural development, poverty alleviation and social progress in the developing countries and regions. A Taobao village/town is economically and industrially active, providing opportunities of employment and entrepreneurship for the rural population. Meanwhile, the habitable environment in the rural/suburban area has offered alternative options of working and dwelling for urban habitants. It leads to a presupposition that the Garden City model put forward by Ebenezer Howard is encountered with true opportunities and new forms of realization in the mobile internet era, which we may call an E-Garden City.

In a Taobao village/town, the industrial development model based on internet technologies has given rise to new requirements of the design and construction of rural infrastructure and public facilities. Both the land-use pattern and architectural programming are undergoing structural changes. Therefore, the main topic of this workshop is how to design for the future of a Taobao village/town, creating new spatial prototypes for the E-Garden City and making it a future home of more attractive and competitive industrial and living activities.

Regarding the diverse characteristics of Taobao villages/towns in different regions across China, two villages and two towns have been selected as the main sites of the workshops. Respectively, each workshop in one Taobao village/town is expected to investigate a more specific topic under the general theme.

Topic 1 Design for more RESILIENT space

This workshop will be focused on how to design more resilient built environment and a more resilient industrial development model for a contemporary Taobao village in the mobile internet era.

Site 1: Xiaying village, Xunxi county, Hubei province, China

Xiaying village is located within the Qin-ba mountains in central China, at the north of Wudang Mountains. Relying on the natural resources of turquois mines, the village has become the first Taobao village in Hubei province.

Topic 2 Design for better SHARED space
Topic 3 Design for GREENER space +
Topic 4 Design for more INCLUSIVE space


The workshop will be conducted in a 24-hour non-stop working model through VIRTUAL platforms. The organizer will send field investigators to the site and live-broadcast fieldtrips to global participants. The working process will be rotated among workshop participants in different time zones, such as East/South Asia, Europe, America and Oceania. Workshop participants will reach consensus on a design proposal and present the final outcomes together.


Time: 15-24 AUGUST 2020 Details: The ten-day VIRTUAL workshop will include field investigations (2-3 days), speculative proposals (2-3 days), mid review, improvement design (4-5 days), final review.


The workshop will be mainly open to graduate/undergraduate students and mentors from universities in the IFoU network. We invite participants from all related disciplines apart from architecture and planning, such as anthropology, sociology, economy, agronomy, ecology and etc., to form an interdisciplinary and more comprehensive understanding and proposal for the new socio-spatial paradigms in the virtual urbanism. The workshop is planned to recruit 40-48 students and 8-12 mentors/tutors. Except for the on-site broadcasters sent by the host university, all the participants will work through virtual platforms.

Applicants should send a short personal statement (300-500 words in English), including educational background, research/design experience, thinking and scenario concerning the goal of the workshop.


All participants of the workshop will be invited to present their final design in the FUTURE GENERATION FORUM to distinguished critics and global audience in the IFoU 2020 virtual conference. Several awards for the workshop teams and members will be announced during the final review.


Design work of the workshop will be published in a follow-up English book edited by IFoU and the host universities. It will also have chance to be published in distinguished international and national journals in collaboration.Design work of the workshop will be invited to a special exhibition in the 8th China Taobao Village Summit to be held in Suning county in 2020.


There will be no registration fee for all participants. If offline field investigations are possible, the organizer will offer subsidies to applicants for travels within mainland China, while travels from outside mainland China shall be covered by the participants themselves.