Five of Chapman Taylor’s extraordinary competition-winning masterplans in China

Some of our competition-winning projects are pretty jaw-dropping in terms of scale and ambition. That’s certainly the case with our Chinese masterplans – urban designs for whole areas that improve the lives of the residents and visitors.

These masterplans are founded on the principles of exemplary placemaking often including the idea of a 15-minute city (where resources are spaced out and accessible on foot locally according to the frequency of need) and employ the principles of ‘sponge cities’ (conserving rainwater during wet seasons for use during dry periods or managing serious flooding risks) and ‘smart cities’ (using ICT to improve operational efficiency).

Our team in Shanghai is committed to sustainability, not just in terms of the environment but also in relation to the social, economic and ethical aspects, based on the principles of responsible design.

Just take a look at some recent examples.

Xiong’An New Area

The 272km² Xiong’an New Area is a government-supported urban development project that will create an ecological, efficient and smart city environment. Our concept was to build a “city with a heart”, as we believe the greatest natural resource society has is its people and its success depends on how they are nurtured and cared for. We wanted to build a city with a harmonious spirit; a sponge city with water and greenery intertwined. Fingers of green space project from the central parks and point into the various city clusters towards the more dense TOD zones of the masterplan.

We’re creating sustainable buildings by implementing modular construction principles, ensuring less disturbance to the environment and minimising the wastage of materials. We wanted the city to be healthy, diverse and smart. On a macro level, the “Sponge City” design makes the city flood resistant. There are also some micro-level Sponge City functions, such as curbside rain gardens which filter, absorb and retain street runoff and allow water to return naturally to the water table. In addition, penetrable materials are proposed and planting local vegetation is a key principle of the masterplan. Green energy is incorporated to support the whole area.

One Line and Four Mines

This 99km² masterplan promotes ecological restoration and regeneration of a historic mining district, Mentougou District, near Beijing. We took our inspiration from the Chinese idea of harmony between man and nature and the benefits this brings to life. 1923 saw the official construction of the Mentougou-Datai section of the Beijing-Mentougou Railway, which brought a steady supply flow of coal to the city and resulted in a century of prosperous history. September 2020 saw the closure of the last mine, leaving damaged habitats and disintegrated community relations.

The masterplan is characterised by the varied nature of the mountain and river landscape with twelve towns and villages connected by a long winding route along the valley. We have laid out cycling and walking routes as well as organising multiple types of cultural tourism trails to create exploratory experiences. The mines will be regenerated and will become part of a breathtaking landscape; a picturesque place for people living and working, to help them discover their own spiritual path. The ultimate goal is to create a resilient masterplanning and development strategy which will create vibrant new communities in the mountain landscape.

Yangu Bay

Yangpu Bay is an area of 5.21 km2 in Hainan's West Wing Development Belt. Our concept envisions a thriving waterfront city inspired by Mangroves, Coastline, Salt Pan and Volcanic Rock. The coastline of the area is covered with mangroves. We analysed the site and how to protect birdlife and wetlands, proposing an ecological buffer zone and two hard shorelines. The coastline will become colourful and flood-adapted, with different site elevations to create a high-quality coastal urban form.

As the core development area of Hainan's free trade policy, it will be a modern and distinctive urban service core; a future smart city. There will be five kinds of urban hubs: commercial, residential, research & developmental and ecological. Each hub will introduce green to the city, enhancing the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature and creating valuable public space.

Sanya Jiyang Area

Known as the "Hawaii of the East", Sanya enjoys 209km of coastline and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The extension of the mountain ranges naturally divides the urban area into different spaces, providing each with a unique spatial landscape environment. The resulting 80km masterplan proposes flood-adapted urban areas and aims to build a landscape system of "one belt, one ring and three chains”, integrating "mountains, rivers, fields, forests and sea", and achieving ecological sustainability.

The East gateway of Sanya is a hub of vibrant mobility. Effective transportation is key to the success of the masterplan. Based on our analysis and optimisation of the present city traffic situation, a dense but efficient urban road network system is proposed. In addition, the convenient and accessible public transportation system includes the urban Express Railway.

Jiaxing High-Speed Railway New City

The 29km² masterplan for Jiaxing High-Speed Railway New City and Yuxin District urban design provides a completed, new and integrated mixed-use city embedded with excellent connectivity and defined by a diverse ecological framework, taking advantage of the existing waterways. The masterplan includes a new railway station, a new urban district, ecological diversity sites, new waterways and a strategic base for innovation and collaboration.

The masterplan creates two linked core areas based on the new South Jiaxing High-Speed Railway Station and a major new urban district to the south of the station, Southern New City. The nature of the masterplan provides an opportunity to provide two overlapping, but complementary, “15-Minute City” circles centred on the station and the core of the Southern New City. The concept is called "Ring City", emphasising the importance of multiple connections that are provided with the design strategy.

Yichun Xu (M.U.P.)

Associate Director, Shanghai

Graduating from the University of Michigan (Postgraduate) and Nanjing University (Undergraduate), Yichun has 4 years of experience working in New York, and 3 years of experience working in China, before joining Chapman Taylor in 2018.

As an expert in the Chinese market, she has worked on a wide range of design projects including largescale masterplans, urban design projects, tourism planning, station design, landscape design and architecture projects.

Areas of expertise:

Masterplanning / Urban Design / Project Management

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