German-based logon architecture shared with us their project The Qingpu Wetlands, an urban landscape proposal in Qingpu, one of the industrial districts of Shanghai. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The Background In the process of modernization and urbanization, various regions in China, especially those around megacities, are undergoing drastic transformation. Agriculture is not only intensified, but carried out as an industry, supported by the easy usage of chemicals, fertilizers and climatized greenhouses. Lands are being developed for industrial, commercial or resisidential purposes, historical and cultural relics torn down and extensive traffic networks cut trough the landscape. The pollution of rivers, lakes and the air, never ending noise from traffic and construction sites dastically reduce the quality of living in these areas.
Located around 30km south-east of downtown, Qingpu is one of several industrial districts of the urban megapolis Shanghai. It used to be a typical Chinese watertown, embedded in farmlands, interlaced with rivers and clusters of lakes. The town featured a rich history, and was well-known for its culture and traditions along its canals.
Today, Qingpu is competing with other districts and towns to attract and accomodate industries and new inhabitants. But it is just another vast urban agglomeration, made up of industrial sites, residential areas, commercial properties and industrialized agriculture facilities. In light of such expansion, the need for new ideas in urban design and development is urgent to show a path into a successful and livable future.
The Concept This urban landscape proposal offers a model that helps enhance the urban development while being realistic today and sustainable tomorrow.
This proposal reflects a way to reverse the traditional dominating-dominated relationship of humans with nature. Elements are carefully planned to create an ecologically sustainable system with smallest financial investment and outside intervention possible. The park first develops plants, water, and land. Then, respectfully around and between these elements, the Path of Experience, weaving up to 4m above ground, allows visitors and local residents an extraordinary experience. Great effort is made to recreate and ensure natural habitat for animals and birds to settledown, breed, and nest. The exact opposite of a standard park, the design utilizes the site’s potential and helps nature return to its intended beauty. The wetlands are connected in non-intrusive ways to surrounding urban areas by bus and ferry.
The intention is to devise a wholly unique, quiet city center concept that combined sustainability, water, ecology, and the urban city with easy access to/from surrounding areas.
The Benfits for Qingpu The benefits for local residents are simple but effective. A quiet retreat from daily life is being offered, based on local natural conditions and river systems. Even the disabled and elderly have the opportunity to enjoy and gain a new understanding of plants and wildlife, while creating new sensitivity for current issues like pollution and sustainability. The park shows ways how to simply regenerate local natural habitats, and make them accessible and attractive. Not to neglect is the advantage over conventional parks: construction and maintainance is simple and cost efficient.
The park also preserves the historical lifeline of the Dian Pu River, offering paths for a quiet stroll or viewing areas to watch ships sail by. The floating amphitheater is reminiscent of cultural performances and the harbor promenade, where old ships are turned into bars and restaurants, and revive the riverside – which traditionally used to be the lifeline of watertowns like Qingpu.
A natural retreat is being offered to residents and visitors, unavailable elswhere in the region. Qingpu’s com¬petitive advantages are strengthened, making the district more attracitve to new residents and users. But especially the combination of a sustainable urban landscape design with economic val¬ues and benefits for the urban develop¬ment will make this park a success for Qingpu, and an outstanding example for the metropolis Shanghai.
The traffic: nature first The site is connected to the surround¬ing urban areas by bus and a deck for river transportation. The trench around the site prohibits vehicle access and enables effective access control. In the future, the amount of visitors might need to be controlled to preserve the ecosystem. Only pedestrians are allowed on the site and access is restricted to the three-dimensional path, activity spaces and platforms.
The three-dimensional path Stunning views of the park and its sur¬roundings are provided. Respecting nature is the goal, for this visitors are not allowed to leave the path and must keep a designated distance from all vegetation. The path is constructed of locally grown wood and bamboo.
The vertical design The flat land is leveled to create lower areas in the center with surrounding hills protecting the inner area from the frequent river floods. The new land level creates a diversity of natural habitats and allows different kinds of plants to flourish. No external landfills required.
The water system During rainy periods, the rainwater is collected at the lower areas and puri¬fied by plants and natural filter systems. After rainstorms, surplus water drains away into the Dian Pu river. The col¬lected water nourishes the park and, during the dry seasons, river water (or even city gray water) can be directed into the wetlands to be purified and used for natural irrigation. The wetland assures the purity of the water and provides the basis for an ecological park. This is especially important in this region, as freshwater resources are limited and polluted.
The ecologic principles Plants: Local plants only, with strong anti-reversion forces, certain capacities of purification, comprehensive usable value and thus following the principles of sustainability.
Animals: the park shall provide an attractive environment for rare, local animals to settle down.
Micro-organisms: create a micro-organism environment to support a naturally balanced environment.