SOM has won the job to design a compact, environmentally-enhanced community of satellite cities along the Chinese high-speed rail corridors connecting Beijing to the port city of Tianjin. The city expansion will host 17.6 million sq m of mixed use development with a focus on providing a premier headquarters location for advanced industries in the dynamically growing Bohai Rim, a region that now accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP. Half of the 1,473-hectare site is allocated to open space, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable urban growth.
‘Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit oriented development at an unprecedented scale’, said Thomas Hussey, project chief designer and member of SOM’s Chicago urban planning studio. “The new district will leverage the high-speed rail to bridge two major metropolitan areas and create a sustainable urban environment that concentrates walkable, compact densities around transit stations, while still preserving existing agriculture and green space.”
In addition to setting specific and aggressive goals for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency, the winning design scheme builds upon landscape design firm Turenscape’s proposed central wetland park by calling for functional environmental systems to filter and clean storm water before returning it to adjoining rivers.
SOM’s Beijing Bohai Innovative City concept emerged from the competition for ‘Beijing Bohai Rim Advanced Business Park’ held jointly by Beijing Tongzhou District Taihu High End Headquarters Construction Management Committee and Beijing Xinghu Investment and Development Co. Ltd.
The plan also provides an advanced multi-modal transportation network and a potential new international airport south of Beijing. Combined with a network of pedestrian and bicycle friendly street design, the plan envisions 80% of the city’s personal transportation to be by transit, walking and bicycling.