Located in the Pearl Bay of Guangzhou’s Nansha District, Hengli Island is envisioned to be an international financial hub, driving the development of the ambitious Greater Bay Area (GBA).
As the chief planner, Arup worked closely with the Nansha government and International Finance Forum (IFF) to transform the former farmland into a sustainable and business friendly hub, featuring IFF’s permanent conference venue with sophisticated transport systems and adequate supporting facilities.
Our work covered infrastructure planning and design and consulting services for landscape, bridges and underground space development. With our multidisciplinary expertise and total design concept, we maximised the project’s social and ecological value to set an example for future city development.
130ha open space
67%ecological service value increased
Creating a resilient city
The rapid urban development has made Hengli particularly vulnerable to climate change. Also taking into consideration its sensitive estuary ecosystem and fast-growing population, we proposed to develop this project into a future city of growing resilience.
Rather than using a conventional engineering-oriented design, we adopted an integrated approach combining engineering, ecological and social solutions to safeguard the city and create room for growth. By connecting and coordinating all stages of work with our multidisciplinary teams, we ensured a quality scheme to realise a blueprint that focuses on people, nature, resilience, sustainability and smart development.
Designing for people and nature
We designed a people-oriented urban landscape space based on the terrain and water feature of Nansha. Our comprehensive analysis on the conditions enabled us to plan the landscape scientifically and systematically guide the overall schematic design and follow up with design consulting.
The open space and infrastructure in Hengli will not only provide a comfortable environment to dwell but also connect urban lives back to nature. For example, we changed the planned concrete dike to an ecological mangrove’s wetland, which will become a natural attraction and serve as a dynamic protection zone under sea surge.
©Google Earth DigitalGlobe
The assessment showed that our design will increase 67% of the total ecological service value. This project is set to become a demonstration for future city design in the GBA as well as other regions in China.
All linked and integrated
As the chief consultant for the 28 bridges linking up Hengli Island, we brought an integrated bridge plan matching the layout of the water system on the tip of the island.
We have compiled guidelines for the overall planning and key system design from an architecture and landscape perspective, while conducting regular checks and providing timely feedback to ensure planning implementation and design quality.
We have also compiled phasing management to integrate all infrastructure of Hengli Island into a unified management platform which will settle conflicts and problems between different projects and ensure a smooth implementation of projects without overlapping sections.
Unleashing underground potential
Underground space on this project is on a large scale with challenging construction conditions and requirements. It will therefore set a benchmark for all underground space construction in the GBA.
Our multidisciplinary technical team fully considered the on-site construction conditions with the aim to improve the quality of the underground space in all aspects, a capability well recognised by the client.
At the beginning, the local community had qualms about losing their unique culture due to urban development. To address their concerns, we initiated a series of workshops to engage the community and developed a plan that preserves their ecological, cultural and natural resources, including designing a traditional dance square, a water stage and a water street.
We successfully proved to the local authority that this new collaborative approach would help to build mutual trust and facilitate implementation of the proposed strategies.