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Wei River

As a result of the urban expansion of Xi’an into a larger cluster, the river zone is changing from a peripheral to a connecting position. To address this development trend, an international competition for Wei river dredging and the conceptual planning and design of both sides of the river was held .


The project scope has a total length of about 15.5 kilometres and a total area of about 56.3 square kilometres. The assignment includes the design for the river space, northern and southern ecological banks and the urban zones in proximity to Wei river and the Jingwei peninsula.

The planning area is the ecological backbone and cultural location where the Eight rivers of Xi’an converge, including the national-level Jingwei Wetland and the famous historical landscape of ‘Jing Wei Fenming’. It is also located in the key area of the north-south expansion and urban integration of Xi’an. Wei river is the largest tributary of Yellow river, and the ambition is to improve its ecological conditions and revive the prosperity of the riverside new urban areas.


The consortiums approach to this assignment is the “Re Weitalization” through 4 strategies:

“Green gathering park” is focused on developing a landscape framework for the future urbanization, ecological measures to increase the habitat diversity and quality, safety measures to manage dredging, the sediment flows and protect the river banks and sponge city measures both in the river space and in the urban areas to manage water collection and discharge.

“Restore Wei river” sets the conditions for urban development within the previously mentioned landscape framework, including desired densities and urban patterns.

“Green fusion” under the structure of One ring, two belts, one line and ten parks, promotes the integration of city, villages and green space, injecting supporting functions and identity to the park system that compliments the living environments in the proximity.

“Innovation extension” aims to connect existing industries with new innovative and ecological industries and organize the urban fabrics to facilitate the exchange and cooperation.


Some design highlights of this project include the Jingwei Fenming peninsula Botanical garden, the revival of ancient Wei river line, the urban wetland park and the historical art cultural corridor in the southern bank


In Shenzhen, the fast urban expansion over the last 40 years resulted in river environments like the 11.6 km long Xinqiao River with neglected and channelized river, limited riverfront space and with little value for biodiversity, ecology, or liveability.


The Blueway Policy offers the opportunity to transform 1000 km of existing rivers, riverfronts, and lakes in Shenzhen into multifunctional waterfronts.
The investement of 734 million RMB in Xinqiao Blueway project will transform the river into a green Blueway with a healthy river ecology, green riverfront spaces and natural riverbanks, which integrate climate adaptive measures and enlarge areas for infiltration and water buffering. Furthermore, continuous slow traffic paths are developed to connect the city with the river. Enjoyable public spaces, parks and amenities are added and integrated area developments of four key area were designed.
Our international multidisciplinary team of landscape architects, urban designers, architects, ecologists, and hydrologists have delivered a comprehensive design ensuring high social, economic, cultural and ecological value, with good feasibility.

Shiyan river and Niugudou reservoir

Shiyan river project has an 11.48km core construction scope, which covers from Shiyan Bridge to the upper reach of the river, including the Shilongzai tributary and Niugudou reservoir.

Inspired by the future development of the landscape, city, and neighborhood in Shiyan, the project puts forward the design concept of ‘landscape Shiyan, happy river street’ to create a more ecological urban tissue, a more charming industrial space, and more diverse neighborhood life in Shiyan.

The proposal integrates landscape design, urban design and environmental approaches, and formulate innovative exploration on river climate adaptive design and ecological value applications. It also stimulate the spatial & functional transformation on surrounding urban fabrics, to make Shiyan River an adaptive and active river park.

Our team consists of landscape architects, urban designers, architects, ecologists and hydrologists, which could provide flexible and feasible solutions for such complex project.


Jinghe Future Ridge (CHONGWEN PAGODA)

 Jinghe Future Ridge is the winning proposal for the Chongwen Pagoda Area urban design competition in Xi’an, China


Jinghe Future Ridge for Chongwen Pagoda Area is the winning proposal developed by the consortium of NL Urban Solutions B.V. and Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Planning and Design Institute in the spring of 2021. It was appraised for their people-oriented approach and attention to ecology and local culture. The new urban area encompasses 3.78 square kilometers and is located in the Jinghe New City of Xi’an, which is one of the five major clusters of Xixian New District, a state-level new district. In the upcoming 1 to 3 years, Chongwen Pagoda area will become the central area for the construction of Jinghe New City.


The proposal is based on in-depth investigations and has resulted in different design strategies for different parts of the landscape.

· The city on the ridge: Due to the difference in site elevation, the eastern side will consist of different high-rise terraces with varying scenery and different views of the city.

· The landscape across the ridge: The middle part are several ecological and recreational corridors with elevated land morphology. Residents can experience nature landscape in these corridors.

· The river below the ridge: The southern side urban development is integrated with the Jing River landscape. For example, various housing and functional blocks are connected by the river green valley.


There are always challenges while creating a new city, especially in terms of attracting new residents. For this reason, we have developed economic and social strategies to attract specific future target groups. Firstly, focusing on economic activities related to culture and innovation will attract entrepreneurs and innovative groups, which in turn will catalyze the development of the city. Secondly, the needs of future residents are identified in order to design an appropriate system of facilities for happy and healthy living. Finally, the collaboration with Academician Valley, the other new urban area hosting knowledge institutes, R&D organizations and key companies, will be essential in building up the new city and attracting residents.


The design proposal includes the construction of a blue-green network and the restoration of wildlife habitats. It also builds a “sponge city” through low impact rain catchment methods, separates motorized traffic flows from the pedestrian flows and provides residents with a pleasant and healthy living environment. With its comprehensive ecological, cultural, and economic strategies that provide high-quality working and living environments, Jinghe Future Ridge will become a model for other new town urban developments in the future.

Xili Reservoir Blueway

Located in Xili International Science and Education District in Shenzhen, the site holds valuable water resource for 1/3 of Shenzhen’s population, precious Hakka village culture and also stands as future intelligent highland for high-end research and education industry. Therefore, we put forward the concept of “Xili, the resource of ecology”, to make Xili Lake Reservoir Blueway as both water resource protection and a new model for natural inclusive urban-landscape development.


The site requires ecological recovery, urban-rural regeneration and upgrading landscape gateway under the strict rules of water resource protection. Therefore we explored the characteristics of 7 rivers by deep site investigation and diagnosis, and processed the structure as ‘Southern city district & Northern wild landscape’. We preserve the ecological values and historical villages’ cultural values for the 4 northern blueways, reverse its hidden wilderness into perceptible riverfront experience. We enhance the linkage between southern urban blueways with surrounding urban areas, transforming the original channelized backside river into an inspiring public waterfront for gathering and communication, which function also as stage for urban innovations.
On regional scale, we intends to build up a mountain-lake-sea leisue & slow traffic framework, by completing the round-lake blueway, Yangtai Mountain trails and connection with surrounding Dasha River Blueway, which forms a 25km continuous double green & blue rings.

We select Baimang co-sharing academic park, Makan community park Kirin Theatre, Dakan-Makan natural exploration park as 3 key areas to express the innovative urban public space, natural inclusive waterfront leisure and urban village transformation by solid design. Besides, the multi-disciplinary team also formulate specific proposals for hydrology & ecology, slow traffic system & transportation, program operation, lighting design, smart park & low carbon development, phasing etc., in order to provide an comprehensive all-in-one solution for Xili Reservoir Blueway.

The difficult challenges of this blueway project is how to integrate 7 rivers, which is different in water quantity, ecology, topography, land use, into one systematic while adaptive strategies & design solutions, and achieve the vision within all kinds of limitations.
During the working process, our team dedicated to proceed and combine hydrology and ecology study, urban-river relationships, spatial accessibility and local cultural identity research, in order to formulate 7 rivers into such South-city North-Nature framework; And the application of toolbox adapting into each site for design also urge us to reconsider how to evolve the design while still heritage the original concept while in the end present with a innovative and considerate content.



DIVERCITY Chishi River Master Plan, the winning entry out of 37 entries from 12 countries, tackles the complex task of how to extend Shenzhen eastward and urbanize the ecologically and culturally precious Chishi River Basin, preserving biodiversity and cultural heritage while ensuring climate resilience for a future city. After extensive research into ecology, landscape topology, river hydrology and culture, DIVERCITY proposes comprehensive strategies covering the whole watershed. A blue-green framework ensure the climate resilience of the new city with 1.5 million population, meanwhile enriching biodiversity and natural river features, e.g. mangrove marshes in Chishi’s precious intertidal wetlands. Traditional villages and the entire landscape that sustains their livelihoods are preserved in the form of community-owned and run ‘Agricultural Parks’ – a source of local food and recreational routes for new urban dwellers. Unlike the previous urbanization models of Shenzhen , ‘Nature-Driven Urbanism’ is applied along the 37km of Chishi river: urbanisation patterns are based on the natural properties of the landscape, creating healthy and inspiring urban living environments where nature and culture are never far.

Landscape and public space design: Academician valley (second prize).

NL Urban Solutions (NLUS), in cooperation with GVL (Guangzhou), won second prize for the concept landscape design of the new city: Academician Valley. 


The project is located in a new city, with planned area of 21.7 km2 and population of a half million people will become the center area and ‘economic engine’ of Jinghe New City, Xi’an, Shaan Xi Province, China.


Design applied ecological, resilient approach, and creative design concept. Storm water management and ecological measures were well integrated with the landscape design. With the ambitious goal ‘to become the best ecological environment, attract the most outstanding talents and gather the strongest high-end industries, NLUS created conditions for a green, liveable and healthy city. NLUS  believes that the nature based and people oriented public space and landscape design plays a significant role in attracting future talents.


The competition consisted of two parts. The first part was the concept design for the entire public space, green structure and green streets inside the 8,8 km2 core area. The second part consisted of the detailed landscape design for the water channel and center lake.


In the concept design NLUS proposed the comprehensive blue green network with different scales (XL-great ecological corridors, L-water system, M-green streets, S-community green and green buildings), the complete green-blue system can make a green city and a resilient city that is adaptive in different climate conditions.  And in the detailed landscape design, NLUS proposed a park area, where the water channel becomes a natural river with soft banks, wetlands, islands and gullies. The design is a basis for diverse bio-habitats for local flora and fauna. The flooding safety is combined with ecological recovery and spatial quality. The slow traffic paths are designed to provide safe and connected routes. In the center, green roofs on top of the commercial buildings were designed to function as extension of the green public space. NLUS chose to introduce organic language for the landscape design, to emphasize the contrast with the grid layout of the urban design.


Jinghe River Environment Upgrade Management Conceptual Design

The Jinghe River has a long history with prosperous culture. The river will cross the new to be built Xixian district for half a million people. Located in the middle of the new development, over a length of 17.5 km, the river space will be the main green-blue corridor of the district. The design will protect the original natural meandering features of the Jinghe River. It includes a large floodplain, a river front with waterscapes, boulevards and slow traffic facilities, creating a continuous recreational zone and attractive riverpark. The riverpark enhances the long history and local landscape character. The vision is a riverfront that combines nature with urban life and full of vitality.


Based on the principle of ‘living with water’, we have integrated the city water system and the riverfront, with nature-based solutions to keep and reuse the water in recreational waterscapes. The green-blue structure of the river project is a comprehensive approach on the total water system. Multiple ecological landscape strategies are integrated with the specific conditions of the flooding zones.


At the same time, the river front is articulated to enhance the view corridors, the landscape nodes and landmarks in correspondence with the main entrances, the function and structure of the urban area. The waterfront space has diverse features, as such countryside, nature, urban balconies, recreation, and living environments. The river becomes a central spine and attraction for the new Xixuan district.


Xi’An Happiness Green Belt Landscape and Lighting Conceptual Design

The Happiness Green Belt is the ‘third axis’ in Xi`an’s ‘three-belt, three-axis and multi-center’ structure, which is closely linked with the city. It is connected to Chan River and Ba River in the north, Qu River in the south, and core area of the main city in the west. It is the green link and development axis between them.

The project aims to build a famous urban landscape business card and green landmark for Xi`an, maintain the stability of urban ecosystem, become a green passage connecting several urban areas and an important outdoor leisure place for citizen. In addition, the project can help to adjust urban climate, form green island effects, oxygen source and breeze corridor.

The design principles focus on first strengthening the unique landscape language, embodying characteristics of Xi`an, designing landmarks and crating conditions for cultural activities festivals for the region. Secondly, considering the superposition of super-large underground complexes and forest belt, it is necessary to pay attention to the organic connection of underground functions, people flow and space. And lastly, design a continuous slow-moving transportation system and urban ecosystem within the Green Belt. The proposal aims to enhance the experience, participation, interaction and wisdom, provide a healthy and happy forest atmosphere for everyone, and create a symbiotic environment in harmony with nature.




This plan for a recreational hub in the Green Heart of the Randstad region combines the development of the recreational hub with landscape development. The chosen location taps into the existing connections by railway and road, the cultural history of the Dutch ‘lintdorp’, existing recreational networks and the quality of the open peatland area. The recreational hub is placed in a forest complex and offers all that modern-day recreationists want and need.