Conference Paper and Spatial Design at Sanya, Hainan, June15-17, 2016


The Open CeremonyGroup Photo in Front of the Sanya University LibraryDSC_8273DSC_8234DSC_8418 DSC_8380


7th Urban Space and Social Life: Theory and Practice Conference

Theme: Life Course & the City


Date: June 15-17, 2016

Location: Sanya University, Sanya, Hainan, China


– Sanya University, Hainan, China;

– Institute of Life Course and Aging at University of Toronto, Canada;

– The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), USA;

– National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE), Canada; 

– AGE-WELL NCE Inc., Canada

– World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific Region

  (WHTIRAP — Shanghai);

– Department of Sociology, State University of New York College at Oneonta, New

  York, USA;

– Department of Social Research, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Chinese

  Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China;

– International Association for China Planning, USA

The 2016 7th Urban Space and Social Life Conference theme focused upon life course and aging in the context of the built environment in both urban and rural settings. This year’s theme paralleled the World Health Organization’s (WHO) current call for global age friendly cities. Through interdisciplinary approached presentations and key note speakers, including but not limited to those with Urban Planning, Medical, Architectural, Sociological, Geography, Political Science and Mediation backgrounds, a multidisciplinary dialogue took place about how to assist cities in both the developed and developing world meet the challenge due to the strong relationship between the quality of life and the quality of a city. 

Highlights from the conference included the keynote speakers; YU Yifan who shared her studies on Shanghai’s adaptability to meet the aging challenge through GPS tracking and interviews and Dr. David DAI Lok Kwan’s research about the vascular and frontal theory of aging in regards to Confucius’ philosophical seven steps to life. Chief Architect of MTR Corporation Limited, Andrew Mead shared his approach and challenge of meeting the needs of the aging population on the MTR, while continuously maintaining and upgrading the existing infrastructure to one of the worlds best and most efficient metro systems. IU Ting Kwok’s investigation into the influx of elderly to Sanya, Hainan and the common disputes relating to the elderly population and how elder mediation could help resolve such disputes with hope of China’s first hub of elder mediation. And lastly, Sylvia Midgett’s work about urban gardening and farming in relation to the elderly, as means to connect them to nature, food sources, and people in the fast paced city of Hong Kong.

Other highlights of this year’s conference included a field trip to “Zhong Liao Village”, a local village in Sanya, where conference participants saw firsthand how the “Li” ethnic group”, including the elderly, survived, thrived, and met challenges while aging. A highlight was a personal meeting with the village leader who spoke about daily life and common long life span of the village’s elderly population as everyone sipped on coconuts! One of the most beneficial talks of the conference was at the end of the three days by Deborah Carr, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gerontology, who provided advice about how to improve research and tips about how to get quality research published in major high-impact journals.