Addressing China’s urban development
China has been experiencing rapid urban development over the past few decades with many millions of people moving from rural areas into new and growing cities.
These processes have huge social, environmental and infrastructure implications which need to be addressed through urban planning and design to ensure a sustainable future for China.
HASSELL has been present in China for over 20 years and has worked on many significant urban development projects.
Three recent projects that address various urban design issues in China are the Shenzhen Affordable Housing Design Competition, Man Built Islands at Dongqian Lake and the Tianjin Binhai Transport Interchange.
The Shenzhen Affordable Housing Design Competition called for a solution to house the city's huge transient working population comprising a large proportion of young people, in particular single women. The city is rapidly running out of space, with only limited land available to house future population growth. The competition brief called for ideas that relate to three scales of thinking – 1 unit, 100 families, 10,000 people.
The HASSELL scheme adopts the concept of "reciprocal living", whereby people are able to interact with each other, share experiences as well as spaces, and develop a stronger sense of community. This idea is applied at each of the three scales of the project.
HASSELL is also participating in the development and design of the Man-Built Islands at Dongqian Lake. Intense usage of the Dongqian lakeside areas for tourism is leading to significant negative impacts on the environment - the depletion of natural resources, the pollution of waterways and the reduced health of the lake's fish population. The long-term viability of the tourism industry, which relies heavily on the natural features of the surrounding area, is also affected. The HASSELL scheme seeks to develop a more sustainable approach to tourism for Dongqian Lake, especially the opportunity for increased interaction of people with the environment.
Tianjin is one of the largest cities in China and is rapidly expanding. As a result, the Tinajin Binhai Transport Interchange is a vital infrastructure project. It will be a planned point of interchange between high-speed rail, three metro lines, local and regional bus services and taxi services. The public domain design by HASSELL aims to seamlessly integrate these services through connections above and below the plaza surface, opening lines of sight between the previously planned entry points and the creation of a series of strategic spatial manoeuvres that will provide for comfortable and efficient passenger movement.
Shenzhen Affordable Housing Design Competition, Man Built Islands and the Tianjin Binhai Transport Interchange have been shortlisted for at the World Architecture Festival awards to be held in Singapore this week.
—Read more articles for October 2012
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