Urban Planning and Development Advisor
Weiming Lu, an urban planning and development adviser, has earned internationally recognition for his work in America, for his consulting around the world, and for his writing and lecturing on city design, urban conservation and development.
Through vision, persistent effort, and partnership skills, he helped rejuvenating downtown Minneapolis, guiding the neighborhood development around the University of Minnesota; and creating a new Urban Village out of historic Lowertown in Saint Paul, guiding the explosive growth of Dallas, saving the Texas School Book Depository, creating the Dallas Art District, and initiating many environment initiatives.
He has advised many developments around the world, including the Beijing Olympic, Shanghai Planning Institute, urban development in Taiwan, the Sothern Science Park near Tainan, the Smart City Initiative in Boise, Idaho, the Chinatown in Singapore, downtown Winnipeg, and the Reconstruction of South Central Los Angeles after the 1992 riot. He advised Lynhurst Foundation for the Chattanooga waterfront, the South Seattle Foundation for the International District, and the Rhode Island Foundation for the Downtown Providence development.
Seeing the effects of rapid urbanization, demolition of historic neighborhoods, the loss of cultural heritage, and the environment deterioration in China; he has spoken and written about the Shan Shui tradition in Chinese gardens, architecture, and cities, in reminding Chinese leaders, planners of their own heritage, and the urgent need to protect remaining historic assets, natural environment, and build livable sustainable cities.
He has lectured at many universities including Harvard, U.C./Berkley, U.N.C./Chapel Hill, Minnesota, Warsaw, Seoul, the Culture University in Taiwan, and the Tsinghua, Tongji, Southeast in China. He has served as Advisor to the MIT East Asian Architecture and Urban Lab, and as Visiting Professor for Tokyo University.
He has spoken to many international symposiums including the Arts and Regeneration of Cities in London, Polish and American Urban Conservation Symposium in Warsaw, the Congress of the Union of International Architects in Beijing, the UN World Forum in Nanjing; and mentored many students, including dialogue with I.M. Pei at a C100 National Conference. He has written in both English and Chinese on urban development. A number of his English papers have been translated, including “Shan Shui City” in English, Chinese, and Japanese; and “Hosting the Olympic” in English and Korean.
Having experienced the destruction and loss of war, he advocates for peace. He initiated the "Hun Qiao" (Bridge of Soul) with Yo-Yo Ma, and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota in 1996; in remembering the Asian Holocaust during World War II, and seeking reconciliation; and commissioned Japanese, Chinese, Korean and American composers for the Concert. It was world premiered in St. Paul, and national broadcasted on the International Peace Day (September 18) on 2001, and performed in the Pacific Music Festival in 2005.
In promoting better understanding between the U.S. and China, he served as advisor to the National Committee for U.S. China Relations for many years since 1979. As Vice Chairman for the Committee of 100, he authored its position paper "Seeking Common Ground, While Respecting Differences," and participated in many exchanges with Chinese and American leaders, hosted the visits of hundreds of Chinese mayors, planners, educators, including three Vice Premieres. He has served as Chair for the Changsha/St. Paul Sister City Committee, and as advisor to the Harbin/Minneapolis Sister City Committee, and Minnesota Governor's Trade Missions to China. Currently, he is advising the U.S. China Friendship Association in building two Chinese gardens in Twin Cities.
He has devoted much of his life to the arts, and served as panelist to the National Endowments for the Arts, advisor to the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and the Chinese American Dance Theatre in Minnesota for many years. He is advising the University of Minnesota in their active exchanges with China. Working with the Public Arts St. Paul, he helped hosting Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin's visit, and linked him with the Martin Luther King's Memorial project. Since then, Mr. Lei has created a statue of Dr. King for the Memorial. Through envisioning and partnership, he created the Dallas Art District, and the Lowertown Creative Community, where 500 artists and many ‘cyber villagers’ now live and work.
He is an accomplished Chinese calligrapher. His works were exhibited in the United States, Japan, and China including the Chinese National Art Academy, and in the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Art Institute and the China National Academy of Fine Arts. He has given lectures to the Institute, the Academy, University of Minnesota, and other colleges. The Hangzhou Television did a film on his exhibit in 1997. The Twin Cities Public Television is filming his Chinese calligraphy for the Minnesota Original Program.
His many awards include the first Quadrennial Presidential Award for Design Excellence, and Presidential Award from National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Distinguished Chinese Alumni award for the University China 100 Years celebration in 2014. His urban environmental design works were exhibited at museums and made into film for UN Conference. Both the Dallas and the Twin Cities public Televisions did a portrait of him. The Minnesota Historic Society profiled him in the Chinese American in Minnesota book. The Society and the University of Minnesota are collecting his papers as a part of their respective archives.
Since his retirement, he is devoting his time to writing and lecturing, sharing his life in China and America, his experiences in urban development, and his exploration of new brush spirit in Chinese calligraphy. His new book, “The Tao of Urban Rejuvenation: Building Livable Creative Urban Village”, sharing his experiences in America and China was published in English and Chinese. The Twin Cities Public Television made a film on his work in St. Paul, “ Lowertown: The Rise of a New Urban Village”.
He has served on the Minneapolis Foundation board for many years. He and his wife have created a Shan Shui Foundation Fund in supporting art, urban design and conservation, and U.S./China exchanges.