Project Description for the Ningbo Eco-Corridor
Location: Ningbo, China
Scope of the Project
The landscape architects, SWA Group, provided master planning and conceptual design services for the 250-acre metropolitan Eco-Corridor Park located in Ningbo’s East Town, an area of 6 square miles that currently includes a mixture of industrial and agricultural land uses. The plan revitalizes and regenerates the existing environments to create a “Green Lung” for the city, providing recreation, education, and cultural facilities for the entire city. The design provides habitat for flora and fauna and creates a constructed open space system for recreation and adaptive reuse.
To achieve these goals, the design team proposed four strategies of integration, balance, creation, and sustainability, as described below. Master planning and conceptual design phases are complete and the first phase of schematic design and site analysis is now underway.
Located in the heart of the Yangtze River Delta on China’s Coastline, Ningbo is one of China’s oldest cities. With an area of 3,616 square miles and a population of 5.43 million, Ningbo has been a well-known key port for foreign trade since ancient times. Bordered by Shanghai to the north and Hangzhou to the east, Ningbo is an important industiral city, foreign trade port, and economic center for east China. Water is integral to the shape and function of the city: “Ningbo,” meaning “Tranquil Waters,” overlooks the Handzhou Bay and rests within the matrix of industrial water canals and delta river fabric of land.
In 2002, to support the growth of the Old City and upgrade infrastructure, the governement called for a master plan for “Eastern New City” to add 6 square miles (3,953 acres) to the urban area. The development of the “Eastern New City” triggered a strategy to build Ningbo as a larger metropolitan area of economic and environmental importance and set the stage for an ecological approach to development.
The Ecological Corridor
The Master Plan for the Eastern New City developed along a grid framework with an east-west “central” corridor and north-south “ecological” and “river” corridors. The north-south Eco-Corridor forms a greenbelt linking the city’s business, governmental, cultural and entertainment districts.
Ningbo’s Eco-Corridor balances the impact of new development and revitalizes and regenerates the natural environment to:
- create a “Green Lung” for the city
- offer a link between humans and their environment
- create opportunities for education
- revitalize and improve existing ecosystems
- restore and create new species habitats
- create a network of open spaces for recreation and adaptive reuse
- provide cultural facilities to connect different land uses in a common space
- filter and treat canal and storm-water to release cleaner (level II) water to the river
Framework for Analysis and Planning
The four key elements influencing the design were: integration of the environment within the existing urban fabric; balance between environmental processes and human habitation; creation of positive open spaces, spatial character, and park identity; and sustainability emphasized throughout the design.
Hui-Li Lee is a Principal at SWA Group, a world reknown landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm.