Donia Zhang

Donia Zhang
Neoland School of Chinese Culture · Chinese Culture Publishing

PhD
Dr Donia Zhang is an author and scholar of Architectural Humanities based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

About

42
Publications
176,212
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178
Citations
Introduction
Dr Donia Zhang is an author and scholar of Architectural Humanities based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. She is the Director of the Neoland School of Chinese Culture and Chinese Culture Publishing, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism (JCAU), and Courtyard Architecture: along the Silk Roads, around the World.
Additional affiliations
June 2016 - December 2022
Oxford Brookes University
Position
  • Contributor
Description
  • Contributing to the 2nd, revised, and enlarged edition of the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, which is scheduled to be published by Bloomsbury in December 2022.
November 2013 - June 2014
York University
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness: Architectural Multiculturalism in North America. Postdoctoral thesis supervisors: Dr Ronald G. Knapp and Dr Richard Harris
October 2013 - January 2019
York University
Position
  • Associate
Description
  • Published over a dozen academic journal articles during this period of time, and drafted the book outline, The Curriculum for Chinese Culture (forthcoming).
Education
July 2019 - September 2019
The University of Hong Kong | edX
Field of study
  • Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia
April 2019 - July 2019
Harvard University | edX
Field of study
  • The Architectural Imagination
June 2014 - July 2014
Peking University
Field of study
  • Teachers of Chinese as a Foreign Language

Publications

Publications (42)
Book
Full-text available
Cultural sustainability is a very important aspect of the overall sustainability framework and is regarded as the fourth pillar alongside the other three: environmental, economic, and social sustainability. However, the concept is neither fully explored, nor widely accepted or recognized. This book elicits the interplay of nature-culture-architectu...
Book
Full-text available
Health and happiness are fundamental to human quality of life. The United Nations World Happiness Report 2012 reflects a new worldwide call for governments to include happiness as a criterion to their policies. The Healthy Cities or Happy Cities movement has been endorsed by the WHO since 1986, and a Healthy House or Happy Home is a critical consti...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study is to evaluate the physical form of the phase one new courtyard housing prototype in Juer Hutong ('Chrysanthemum Lane') of Beijing, and propose further design development for the new courtyard type. In doing so, Heliodon experiments were carried out, using architectural simulation models, to test sunlight penetration during di...
Book
Full-text available
Classical courtyard houses of Beijing (siheyuan) as a housing typology have attracted interest of people from all walks of life. Due to deterioration, the large-scale demolition of these houses since the 1990s has given rise to heated debates, nationally and internationally. In this book, the author traced the history and design philosophy of class...
Book
Full-text available
Environmental education and ecological literacy is evolving into a pedagogical field, with more and more schools today taking actions to create landscaped settings for natural learning than ever before. With these developments comes a need for an integrated book that provides both core philosophies as well as method. This comprehensive volume Schoo...
Article
Full-text available
Historic cities all over the world are facing challenges on how to best preserve their architectural heritage. We need good examples to follow. This study explores the historic city of Pingyao in China’s Shanxi Province, and the Qiao Family Courtyard in Qiaojiapu Village of Qi County nearby. Pingyao is a representative of northern Chinese city plan...
Research
Full-text available
As one of the greatest masterpieces in Chinese history, Dao De Jing is a philosophical work by Laozi (Li Er, c.571-471 BCE) published in the 4th century BCE. It contains 81 chapters/verses whose essence is on moral philosophy and ideal ways for humans to be in harmony with nature, self-cultivation, governing the country, deploying military forces,...
Research
Full-text available
This 200-page volume contains 85 carefully selected Chinese poems arranged in chronological order, from antiquity (c.2000 BCE) to the modern time (1972), though most of them are from the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, since these two eras were the climax of Chinese poetry creation and development. The selection was based on the popul...
Article
Full-text available
Through a historical research on two well-preserved vernacular Chinese dwellings: The Wang Family Courtyard in Shanxi and the Sam Tung Uk Walled Village in Hong Kong, this paper examines the cultural sustainability of architecture in China, and explores what factors have contributed to their success and decline, and what can be learned from their s...
Article
Full-text available
The cultural dimension of sustainability as the fourth pillar of the overall sustainable development framework encompasses both tangible and intangible cultures. In this study, tangible culture refers to the home environments of Chinese residents in China and North America, while intangible culture refers to their faiths and belief systems, in othe...
Article
Full-text available
Cultural sustainability is the theoretical framework for this study, which investigates Nanchizi ("South Pond") new courtyard housing experimental project constructed in Beijing, China, in 2003. It is located in a traditional courtyard house neighborhood right to the east of the Forbidden City, in a culturally and politically sensitive area that th...
Presentation
The purpose of this research is to investigate through adult perceptions what factors have enabled and limited student participation in schoolyard gardening, and how to support student involvement in schoolyard gardening. It is a collective case study of three schools in Toronto District School Board (TDSB, Ontario, Canada). Sixteen interviews were...
Presentation
The Chinese have lived in single-extended-family courtyard houses in many parts of China for thousands of years. The earliest courtyard house found in China was during the Middle Neolithic period (5,000-3,000 BCE). However, the 20th century was a significant turning point in the evolution of Chinese courtyard houses. This presentation provides an o...
Preprint
The courtyard house is one of the oldest dwelling types, spanning at least 5,000 years and occurring in distinctive forms in many parts of the world across climates and cultures. This article takes a panoramic view and makes a cross-cultural analysis of the courtyard houses in six cultures: Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Greco-Roman, Spanish, and Hispan...
Article
Full-text available
Set within the theoretical framework of cultural sustainability, this in-depth case study examines the Shilinyuan (meaning “Lion Grove Courtyard-Garden Housing”) built in the old city of Suzhou, China, in 2000. It is a modern interpretation of southern Chinese vernacular houses, with private and semi-public outdoor spaces, and a communal Central Ga...
Data
Chinese Housing in North America Survey Results
Preprint
This presentation highlights my research findings on courtyard housing renewal and redevelopment projects in China, and cooperative housing and cohousing in North America (Canada, in particular). It links architecture with social sciences and humanities, and connects housing with health and happiness. This study takes a holistic view of health as t...
Research
Full-text available
This collection contains 30 Chinese couplets that I compiled and translated on the themes of learning, spring, life, and happiness. As the Chinese people say "仁者见仁,智者见智" (The benevolent sees benevolence, the wise sees wisdom), I hope everyone will find something valuable in these classic phrases and the unique characteristics of the Chinese languag...
Research
Full-text available
This volume contains 50 Chinese proverbs that I compiled and translated on the themes of learning, friendship, health, happiness, and life. These proverbs are mostly based on my father's memories. Enjoy your reading and learn the wisdom.
Article
Full-text available
Cultural vitality as the fourth pillar of sustainable development has been widely acknowledged, and vernacular architecture as a major part of a nation’s material culture has entered the cultural sustainability dialogue. This recognition demands that new housing design and development should honor a local or regional identity. This in-depth case st...
Article
Full-text available
Culture has been recognized as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, and culture is often viewed as a system of symbols that arises from human interpretations of the world. The cultural codes of symbols and symbolism are imperative to be reexamined for any reinterpretation of a traditional culture. This article explores the origin and meani...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an analysis of the former Chinese Communist Party leader Chairman Mao Zedong’s political career (reigned 1949-1976), with regards to his success and failures. Mao was one of the most prominent Communist theoreticians who governed a quarter of humankind for a quarter of a century. His political philosophy, particularly his Method...
Article
Full-text available
This essay takes a holistic look at the philosophy of education in China from the antiquity to the present time, with an emphasis on the notion of self-cultivation in different schools of thought. The purpose of the study is to draw out the positive aspects of Chinese philosophy for newer generations to carry forward the cultural heritage for a hea...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the design philosophy of classical Suzhou gardens in China, with regards to their natural and architectural elements on the moral education of the inhabitants. Through studying the metaphorical connotations of garden elements, the author reflects on their propositions for contemporary environmental ethics, aesthetic appreciation...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates residents living experience in the common courtyards of cooperative housing and cohousing in Canada, and their sense of happiness associated with it. Cooperative housing as a form of social housing established in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as early as the 1910s. Cohousing as its subsequent name has evolved into a global moveme...
Article
Full-text available
The Chinese have lived in single-extended-family courtyard houses in many parts of China for thousands of years. The earliest courtyard house found in China was during the Middle Neolithic period (5000-3000 BCE). The courtyard form signifies Chinese quest for harmony with nature and in social relationships. However, the 20th century was a significa...
Article
Full-text available
Health and happiness are fundamental to human quality of life. The Healthy Cities or Happy Cities movement has been endorsed by the WHO since 1986, and a Healthy House or Happy Home is a critical component of a healthy city or a happy city. Nevertheless, the concept has not been fully explored. Existing literature on the healthy house has often foc...
Article
Full-text available
Set within the theoretical framework of cultural sustainability, this in-depth case study examines the Juer Hutong new courtyard housing prototype built in the inner city of Beijing, China, whose phase one was completed in 1990 and phase two in 1994. Juer Hutong (Chrysanthemum Lane) is located in the area of the celebrated Nanluogu Xiang (Gong and...
Research
Full-text available
This anthology is a collection of Donia Zhang's published poems on the theme of environmental education. She links nature with culture through these literacy artworks that express profound cultural meanings when interpreting the natural world. The American poet, Robert Frost, once said "A poem begins in delight but ends in wisdom." Let's see if his...
Article
Full-text available
This essay focuses on the impacts of socio-economic transformation and privatization in the Chinese housing market on the lives of residents in China. China has implemented a socialist market economy since 1978. This new political system has caused many of its sectors to privatize, one of which is the land and housing market. Due to an increase in...
Article
Full-text available
Vernacular architecture has a long and entrenched root in culture, and culture has been regarded as the fourth pillar of sustainable development that is increasingly brought into contemporary architectural discourse. This paper considers architecture as cultural artifact and examines the form, space, materials, and construction of classical courtya...
Article
Full-text available
Courtyard houses served as a traditional dwelling type for single, extended families in Beijing for centuries. However, the twentieth century brought significant changes, as individual houses were divided into multiple units and their courtyards filled in for ancillary structures such as kitchens and storage sheds. This study combines architectural...
Chapter
Full-text available
The United Cities and Local Governments have now endorsed a four-pillar sustainable development framework that includes environmental responsibility, economic viability, social equity, and cultural vitality. Whilst in his book The Nature of Design, David Orr (2002) maintained that sustainability is a modern term for “longevity” (p. 11), whose essen...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper highlights the key findings from the author’s 2015 book Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness: Architectural Multiculturalism in North America. The study investigated the interrelations of housing-health-happiness, and examined health from a cultural perspective. It defined a courtyard as a “pedestrian, communal, outdoor space enclo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This presentation represents part of a PhD research in progress. It examines an ongoing residential rehabilitation project that has been implemented piecemeal in four inner city districts of Beijing since 2005, and the municipal government is spending ¥1 billion (RMB) in 2008, renovating 44 hutong (lanes) and 1400 courtyard house complexes, involvi...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the relationship between complex philosophical theories and the practical application of design, and propose a design template for schoolyard gardens that is applicable in the northern hemisphere. It is based on Daoism, Feng Shui, sustainable design principles, as well as the author’s 4-month daily observations in an elementary...
Article
Full-text available
This paper seeks to identify, through adult perceptions, what factors have enabled and limited student participation in schoolyard gardening and how to sustain student involvement in an urban district school board in southern Ontario, Canada. Through literature review and in-depth interviews with 16 adults associated with 3 (4) schools, the school...
Thesis
Full-text available
The purpose of this research is to investigate through adult perceptions what factors have enabled and limited student participation in schoolyard gardening, and how to support student involvement in schoolyard gardening. It is a collective case study of three schools in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB, Ontario, Canada) that are currently r...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
This comprehensive volume presents courtyard architecture in 46 countries around the world, with building functions ranging from residential, educational, medical, imperial, civil, religious, among others, courtyards. The study of different courtyard building types provides greater insights on the variety of the use and benefits of courtyards in different settings, although the main study is on residential courtyards. The courtyard house is one of the oldest dwelling types, spanning at least 5,000 years, and occurring in distinctive forms in many parts of the world across climates and cultures. Past research findings show that the courtyard house is environmentally friendly and energy efficient, and that courtyard housing creates healthier and happier communities than other housing forms such as tower blocks, especially for children and the elderly. However, previous books on courtyard housing often have a limited scope, not on a global scale, and there is still a lack of knowledge on how the courtyard facilitates environmental, economic, social, and cultural benefits for the humanity as a whole. The book aims to fill the gap and promote the courtyard concept in contemporary architecture and urbanism, to preserve the common heritage of humanity, and to design and develop new courtyard buildings for social health and happiness. The book also aims to explore the architectural-cultural interactions and influences among the nations along the ancient and the New Silk Roads, which has occurred not only in Eurasia, but also Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and other places around the world.
Project
The Neoland School of Chinese Culture is an online educational enterprise founded by Dr Donia Zhang in Ontario, Canada, in 2012, with its registered trade name Chinese Culture Publishing, in 2019. The mission is to promote cultural understanding and exchange between China and the West through cultural education. It is conceived that Chinese and Western cultures are complementary; incorporating Chinese cultural education into Western societies is necessary for a healthy and balanced development of younger generations to survive and flourish in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society.
Project
The Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism (ISSN: 2717-5626) is an international peer-reviewed academic journal which publishes original research articles, review articles, reports, and book reviews. The Journal presents new results of research and provides a platform for discussion and debate relating to architectural heritage preservation and cultural sustainability in the Chinese context, as well as the cultural influences of Chinese architecture worldwide in the past and at present. Topics covered but not limited to: • History of Chinese architecture and city planning • Philosophy of Chinese architecture and city planning • Chinese vernacular architecture and urban design • Chinese landscape architecture and design • Chinese architectural technologies and innovations • Contemporary Chinese real estate development • Social dimension of Chinese vernacular architecture and urban design • Cultural dimension of Chinese vernacular architecture and urban design • Political dimension of Chinese vernacular architecture and urban design • Environmental dimension of Chinese vernacular architecture and urban design