Developing the Littoral Gradient research team Fadi Masoud, Brent Ryan, and Colleen Xi Qiu (PhD Candidate) conducted a 4-city, 8-day field study and research trip to China funded by the Sam Tak Lee Faculty Research Seed Grant. While on the trip, the team met with key research affiliates, academics, planners, and developers in Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.
The team visited sites selected from their ongoing research atlas of projects built on reclaimed land. The sites vary tremendously in size, scope, and completion stages. Starting with Tinajin where some of the world’s largest land reclamation projects are currently underway and where the world’s largest “Eco-City” is being constructed. Along the shores and mudflats of Bohai Bay, the team visited Binhai New Town, Yujipau, Sanhe Island, Tuqiaozicun and the Sino-Singapore Eco-city.
Later on in the trip, the team visited reclamation projects in the Pearl River Delta, including Shekou, Houhai and Qianhai Bay near Shenzhen, with a specific focus on Qianhai Bay which was the subject of a critically acclaimed global design competition. The finalists in the 2010 competition included OMA and Joan Busquests, however it was James Corner Field Operation’s “Qianhai Water City” that won the commission to master plan the 4,500 acres of reclaimed land. The team toured the exhibition hall of the development as well as visited constructed prototypes of the “water fingers” that serve as an organizational recreational element as well as a form of landscape infrastructure that drains and cleans water. The team ended its visit touring some of the region’s earliest, incremental, and most successful reclamation projects. This included Hong Kong’s still ongoing reclamation sites along Victoria Harbour’s Central Districts and newly constructed Tamar Park, as well as New Towns in West Kowloon and the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade.
Among the key figures the team met with are Stanley Leung, Director of Turenscape our local research partners spearheading China’s Sponge City initiative. Ying Long, Associate Professor and Founding Director of Beijing City Lab at Tsinghua University, as well as Liu Bingbng, Master Chief Planner in Shenzhen, in charge of the development of Qianhai Bay. The team met with sales representatives and governmental officials at to the exhibition halls of the Sino Singapore Eco-city near Tianjin, and at the Qianhai Financial Center, the first major development in Qianhai.
The team is currently consolidating their many photographs, notes, and observations to include them in the visual atlas and synthesize them as part of their scholarly work on the topic.