Shunde Guipan River Waterfront
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Rehabilitating the Pearl River Delta through Environmental Infrastructure

Location Shunde

Client Shenzhen Urban Planning and Land Administration Bureau

Scope Planning, Landscape Architecture

Size 19-kilometers

SWA participated in a competition reimagining 19-kilometers of the Guipan River waterfront in Shunde, China. While the Pearl River Delta is one of the fastest growing regions of Southern China, one of the many casualties of this growth was the delta itself. Presently, Shunde has a growing flooding problem enhanced by channelizing, condensing, and containing the river system. What was once a healthy delta with countless braided river ecologies has now been constrained into 3 river systems. SWA’s design for the Guipan waterfront reflects the local Linnan waterway and “mulberry-and-fish-pond” agricultural system as the typology of new wetlands and park spaces, expressed as a series of wetland filtration ponds. The larger setting for the waterfront park is the 72-square-kilometer master plan previously developed by SWA and focuses on five unique zones: Urban Park, Wildlife Park, Recreation Park, Office Park, and Wetland Park. The concept focuses on restoring the constructed wetlands as the armature for a multimodal city while restoring the wildlife habitats for the larger Pearl River Delta. The plan develops individual islands as pedestrian-scaled mixed-use villages that are linked by a proposed environmental infrastructure of greenbelts, water corridors, rail, trails and a multilayered transportation system. In order to maximize edge surface area and increase opportunities for exchange, the 19-kilometer Guipan River project proposes a braided system of fine-grained waterways to increase filtering capacity and reconnect the new planned City of Shunde to the river. SWA’s design for the site maximizes the social and economic value of the river by emphasizing and expanding its inherent qualities of place, ultimately creating a comprehensive and connected waterfront to rehabilitate and reestablish the Pearl River Delta as a healthy ecological landscape.

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