Yunlong County is located in the westernmost part of Dali Bai Autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province. It is the largest county in Dali with an area of 4,400.95 square kilometers, 98.4% of which is mountainous. The county is home to a population of about 200,000 people and is one the poorest in China. A few years ago, Tongji University was mandated by the MOE to lend intellectual support to the county to help it stamp out poverty. Experts on planning, the environment, materials and new rural construction were dispatched to Yunlong County to carry out field investigations. They pinpointed hurdles that stood in the way of Yunlong’s economic development and came up with solutions.
Developing integrated urban-rural development plans. In July 2013, Tongji University developed the Yunlong Urban Development Master Plan and the Caojian Town Development Master Plan, defining the role of the county seat as a service provider for the whole county, to the exclusion of massive industrial development. The university believed that building a livable small-size town, where tourists could see and experience firsthand Bai customs and culture had more potential to become a new engine for the county’s development.
Developing sites designed to attract tourists. In response to a three-year action plan for developing tourism in Yunnan introduced by the Yunnan provincial government in 2016, the Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) prepared the Yunlong Tourism Resource Development Plan, aimed at developing a number of key sites designed to appeal to tourists, building on existing natural resources and tourism infrastructure. The total investment in these projects amounted to 229 million RMB.
Transforming the county seat into a central location sought out by tourists. To turn the country seat into a town that would attract visitors, the TUPDI has been preparing a nine-part development master plan since 2016. Under this plan, a large number of projects have been launched to reinforce the functionality of the county seat, allowing it to play a greater role in driving rural development and improving livability in rural communities.
Optimizing industrial planning. The TUPDI and the School of Economics and Management at Tongji University have jointly identified ecological agriculture as a development priority, and emphasized the use of Internet-based branding strategies for generating added value, in an optimized industrial development plan for Yunlong. So far, the university has facilitated the display of over 200 varieties of Yunnan specialties in farm produce fairs held in Shanghai.