AIA Hong Kong, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has recognised the Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan with its 2010 Merit Award for Urban Design. Noted for its long-range vision, the master plan sets forth a strategy for transforming Langfang into a model of ecological urban redevelopment, calling attention to the role of existing cities in forging a more sustainable global future. Woods Bagot's San Francisco studio served as the architect for the planning team led by HOK and CW Group. The award was the only honour given for urban design by the chapter this year.
Located between Beijing and the Tianjin mega-region, Langfang has grown from an agricultural hub of 50,000 in the mid-20th century to a city of 800,000. With the pending completion of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line, which will stop in Langfang, additional growth opportunities for the city are anticipated.
In contrast to the pattern of new city development common in China, the Eco- Smart City Master Plan proposes to intensify existing development patterns within Langfang, preserve the surrounding agricultural land, and integrate ecological systems that restore and enrich the natural habitat; all with an overarching goal of creating an economically, culturally and environmentally vital metropolitan centre for future generations.
Three key elements comprise the plan: a City Centre Transportation Hub, a Northern Gateway Cultural Corridor, and an extensive wetland and aquifer system. Located in the heart of the city and bridging the high speed rail-line, the transportation hub weaves together transit systems, living infrastructure, and compact development to create a pedestrian-scaled, multi-tiered canopy for working and living.
Distributed throughout the city and feeding into the wetland and aquifer system, a network of green corridors and 'blueways' - integrated landscape and water features - form a connective, multi-functioning infrastructure for harvesting water, restoring biodiversity, and enhancing the city's sense of place and identity. Supported by an economic strategy that encourages ecologically restorative industries in alternative energy, public transit, and organic agriculture, as well as in health and education, Langfang's Eco-Smart City master plan establishes a comprehensive, future-oriented vision.
The Eco-Smart City master plan was approved by the city of Langfang earlier this year. Implementation of the City Centre Transportation Hub is currently underway.