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Donia Zhang links Chinese philosophy on harmony, happiness, health, and healing, with the courtyards and gardens in China and Canada. She examines the interplay between social interaction and cultural activities with traditional Chinese architecture and landscape architecture. Chinese Scholars’ Gardens encompass such tangible and intangible cultural values, and many have been designated in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The presenter’s previous research findings indicate that in China, courtyard houses facilitate residents’ physical health and natural healing, as well as their social interaction and cultural activities; while in North America, the common courtyards are spaces where residents can sit, talk, and socialize with one another. It is thus suggested that this knowledge is transferrable from one locality to another, and that a courtyard garden may help achieve cultural vitality and multiculturalism in Canada. Finally, Zhang’s presentation proposes design elements that may help revitalize Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Courtyard, which sits between the Chinese Cultural Centre and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
About the Presenter
Dr Donia Zhang is the Director of the Neoland School of Chinese Culture and an Associate of the City Institute at York University, Canada. She has over 20 years of research experience in interdisciplinary studies of architectural humanities and social sciences, particularly the interrelations of housing, health, happiness, and cultural sustainability. She has authored four scholarly books: Courtyard Houses of Beijing: Past, Present, and Future (2009/2010/2011), Schoolyard Gardening as Multinaturalism: Theory, Practice, and Product (2009), Courtyard Housing and Cultural Sustainability: Theory, Practice, and Product (2013/2016), and Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness: Architectural Multiculturalism in North America (2015/2017).