SWA Group's vision for a new 'Canal City of the North' in China's Shandong province
Jining's position as the northernmost city and highest point along the navigable portion of the Grand Canal gives it special prominence in relation to this historic monument and provides inspiration for the master plan.
The Grand Canal has remained navigable to Jining through the city's skilled management of its water resources-making the Grand Canal the successful infrastructure that it is today. Jining, meaning the peaceful place with river, has always had an abundance of water. Significantly, the city is located at a critical juncture in its watershed, just at the northern tip of a large series of wetlands. Jining's water resources must be protected and enhanced through an ecological strategy in relationship to water and its surrounding development.
The Grand Canal and its tributaries should provide the framework to integrate the existing developments and organise growth for the city. This is the natural 'ecology' of the site. SWA Group's concept proposes a series of new canals that celebrate the ability to navigate through the landscape by boat. The plan provides an ecological framework for protecting and expanding Jining's water resources. The canals, combined with the lake to which they connect, define a special identity for Jining North Lake, one of the navigable ecologies that establish a new Canal City of the North. The open space canal system defines a range of development areas, using a decentralised approach to create a framework for the plan.
The development areas are akin to neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood lays in close proximity to the waterways which branch away from the Grand Canal. The development areas contain a complete mix of land uses including a range of housing typologies, retail areas and commercial zones that are dispersed throughout to create a sustainable cluster of uses.