SWA Group design new city in China as a network of villages
This 72-sq-km new-city design weaves a constructed wetland delta system into a multimodal city, restoring bird and wildlife habitat for the larger Pearl River Delta and expanding flood storage capacity. As an extension of the existing city of Shunde, New Shunde develops individual islands as pedestrian-scaled, mixed-use villages that are linked by both a proposed environmental infrastructure and a multilayered transportation system. An extensive network of wetlands, bioswales, and 'green machines' filter urban runoff and are artfully expressed as an integrated part of the natural or urban sections of the riverfront design.
Two multimodal transportation stations serve as anchors for mixed-use urban centres. These stations integrate regional high-speed rail, local monorail, water taxis, parking structures, buses, and freeway linkages. The city's plan also establishes a high-tech employment and R&D district, to support and expand the range and depth of the existing local flower, electronics, furniture, and ceramics industries. The existing university is also expanded through satellite community colleges at proposed village centres, as another way to support the expansion of new industries and draw high-end workers and residents. These developments, paired with the enhancements of the ecological system, serve to increase property values and enhance the economy of the entire city.
Shunde utilises a water-based approach, maximising the social and economic value of the site by emphasising and expanding its inherent qualities of place. A variety of waterways are proposed; wide waterways provide opportunities for major recreational corridors, trails, and parks, while narrow canals provide human-scaled urban corridors. The waterways provide flood storage capacity, increasing protection and safety. The water framework also improves land values, thus attracting creative industries and an educated workforce.
Shunde is comprised of multiple urban centres, each a self-contained unit of residential, retail, office, educational, or civic uses. A civic and cultural centre, financial centre, office campus, academic campus and resort provide distinct districts with specific use concentrations - yet these centres are ultimately designed around people. Fine-textured neighbourhoods with small blocks and small streets contribute to a human-scaled, walkable environment. Buildings are built to the street edge, reducing or eliminating setbacks to create intimate and comfortable spaces shaded by trees and framed by canals.