Classical Chinese Gardens: Landscapes for Self-Cultivation




Chinese landscape architecture, Chinese garden, Chinese philosophy, Ethics, Aesthetics, Morality


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, and moral education. As such, the article is structured around three themes: classical Chinese gardens cultivating environmental ethics, classical Chinese gardens cultivating an appreciation of aesthetics, and classical Chinese gardens cultivating moral characters. The essay finally suggests that classical Chinese gardens are landscapes for self-cultivation.


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Author Biography

Donia Zhang, Dr., Neoland School of Chinese Culture , Chinese Culture Publishing , Canada

Dr Donia Zhang is a Chinese-Canadian 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, the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism (JCAU), and a translator for the Journal of Chinese Humanities (JOCH). Donia 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 is an editorial (advisory) board member of the International Journal of Architecture, Arts and Applications (IJAAA), Journal of Architectural Research and Development (JARD), Architecture and Design Review (ADR), and Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA).
Donia is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University (BArch, MA, PhD) in the UK and Brock University (MEd) in Canada. She has also obtained a Verified Certificate of Achievement in The Architectural Imagination from Harvard University | edX, and a Verified Certificate of Achievement in Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia from the University of Hong Kong | edX.


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How to Cite

Zhang, D. (2018). Classical Chinese Gardens: Landscapes for Self-Cultivation. Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 2(1), 33–44.