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 sought to develop a more sustainable approach to tourism for Dongqian Lake, especially the opportunity for increased interaction of people with the environment.
The current mismanagement of the lake by the local tourist industry has led to one of the key goals of this project - Engage H2O - a proposal for the improvement in the way people and development depend on the water of Dongqian Lake. The lake is the basis of the economy for the local people - this plan recognises the importance of water to them and all human life. Three main historic relationships between people and water are also recognised in this project: the reliance on water for survival and basic needs; the importance of the quality of water to thrive; and the need to re-balance the current use of water for future sustainable needs.
Accordingly, within the HASSELL scheme is an operational system for the islands, with a focus on water. This will be further implemented in actual practice, combining the local fishery industry with the natural water circulation systems. A number of key outcomes are proposed, including water purification; the flexibility to redevelop local industries with future change; and to retain the memory of the industrial heritage of the lake for future generations.
The main island is constructed from soil that is created from the dredging of the lake, while smaller islands are floating structures. The smaller islands are designed to incorporate water filtration and fish breeding functions, providing continual improvement of the lake's water quality and fish population. Throughout the year these islands move position - from the existing lakeside villages (at the start of the breeding cycle) to the main island, where visitors enjoy recreational functions, while learning about their environmental purpose.