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New Community Based on Ecological Restoration
Location Kunming, Yunnan, China
Client Horti-Expo Real Estate Company, Ltd.
Scope Planning, Landscape Architecture
Size 640 acres
The concept for the Kunming Eco-Town is based on an understanding of the historical natural processes of the location. The master plan goal restores balance in the landscape through restoration and sensitive development. In using a watershed planning approach to determine the most sensitive lands and subsequently where development is appropriate, the issues of a healthy, functioning restored forest drove the design concept. The idea of a restored forest includes ecological concepts such as high quality air for breathing, high quality water for drinking and wildlife habitat and a diversity of species associated with the vegetation. With restoring the forest as the large-scale design concept, a detailed site visit and computer GIS analysis revealed lands with the appropriate carrying capacity for the proposed development. A land-based approach was used to achieve a series of highly integrated communities. The enclaves for each community lies on the appropriate topography to avoid extensive grading activity and its inherent ecological degradation. The elements of the communities include a mix of uses in order to be as self-sustaining as possible. Program items such as housing, retail, education, health services and communications are organized within walkable distance. The big idea is to allow a resident access to common, everyday goods and services as well as a strong open space system without need for an automobile. Additionally the concept of community enclaves surrounded by high quality forest is intended to inspire a logical and efficient use of energy and infrastructure in the development or each area. Sustainable technologies seek to: • Treat and reuse wastewater. • Reduce peak flows associated with introduced urban storm water runoff. • Orient buildings to reduce heating and cooling loads. • Use passive solar collection to reduce energy use. • Cluster development in order to preserve and restore forest and hydrological corridors. The landscape concept is based on ecology and habitation living in balance, and included the integration of green roofs and native landscape features. A fundamental example of this balance can be seen in the wetlands throughout the project. A visitor finds great diversity in the plant material, the purity of the air, clearness of the water and the presence of wildlife. Underneath the surface of this beauty is the function of the landscape as it works to greatly reduce the energy of the nearby built environment. These functions include: the capture and treatment of storm water runoff for groundwater recharge and reuse in non-potable applications; biological treatment of community waste water to sanitary levels and as a holding pond for the required water supply for irrigation and fire protection.