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Cloud Valley, Hangzhou

How technology can be used in urban design?

Arup has provided a future-proof design for Cloud Valley, a new 17km² business park in Hangzou, China. Our concept, which won first prize in the Cloud Valley urban design competition, is of a nature-based urban development aligned with China’s national policies for ‘model towns’. The project also acts as impetus for digital innovation – drones were used to acquire site-specific data to inform the planning process and allow various stakeholders to ‘see’ how the site will be transformed upon the implementation of the scheme.

Project Summary


1 st Prize in international competition

1st Cloud computing cluster of Alibaba Group

Ecological sensitivity analysis

Central to our approach was providing an intuitive understanding of the site’s complex ecology. Using custom-designed parametric tools, we carried out site-wide ecological sensitivity analysis, superimposing multiple analysis layers to extrapolate aggregate sensitivity. We used the results to develop a masterplan strategy that takes into consideration the varying ecological sensitivity of the site.

A comprehensive and forward looking plan, with very detailed site analysis using advanced drone technology and GIS technique. The master plan retains the important function of the area as a flood plain. It also envisages the gradual transformation of the existing agricultural practices to complement the changing demand of the future population. Demonstrates a genuine sustainability approach in social, economic and environmental development. The plan is implementable and practicable. ” Judges HKIP awards 2017

Reducing flood risk

Based on our flood risk analysis, about 65% of the site lies within a 20-year flood-risk plain. To reduce flood risks, construction and development in these areas will follow the ‘sponge city’ concept. This approach maximises the effectiveness of low-impact development, ensuring regional flood protection and ecological security, as well as enabling the site to adapt to changing environmental conditions and respond to natural disasters in a flexible manner.

Driving innovation in the region

Cloud Valley is expected to be a magnet for creative talent and companies from across the world. It will showcase ‘best practice’ for pioneering business hubs by offering flexible and co-working environments, smart technology and a sharing economy focused on travelling, living, business and retail services.