Contemporary cities are not resilient when faced with inundations of surface water. Landscape architecture can play a key role in addressing this problem. This project demonstrates a stormwater park that acts as a green sponge, cleansing and storing urban stormwater and can be integrated with other ecosystem services including the protection of native habitats, aquifer recharge, recreational use and aesthetic experience, in all these ways fostering urban development.
A 2,733 hectare new urban district, Qunli New Town, was planned for the eastern outskirts of Haerbin in northern China. More than one third of a million people are expected to live there. Floods and waterlogging have occurred frequently in the past, while at the same time the ground water table continues to drop due to its overuse. In mid-2009, the landscape architect was commissioned to design a park right in the middle of this new town. The landscape architect proposed to transform the site into an urban stormwater park that will provide multiple ecosystems services.
The central part of the existing wetland is left along to allow the natural habitats to continue to evolve. A cut-and-fill strategy was employed to create an outer ring of mounds and ponds, a minimum earthwork strategy to transform the site, creating a necklace of ponds and mounds around the perimeter of the park that acts as a stormwater filtrating and cleansing buffer zone.
A network of paths links the ring of ponds and mounds allows visitors to have a 'walking-through-forest' experience. Platforms and seats are put near the ponds to enable people to have close contact with nature. A skywalk links the scattered mounds and pavilions allowing residents to have an above-the-wetland and in-the-canopy experience.