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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.


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.


Shenzhen New Marine City

Under the Silk Road Sea Route framework, Shenzhen New Marine City is a major strategic move to transform the marine industry of the Guangzhou-Hongkong-Macau Great Bay region. Meanwhile, in a time of climate change and sustainable thinking, as a new city it bears the mission of creating a higher level of environmental and living quality. Its unique advantages as a l land-reclamation city, compared to inland cities, should be a starting point in re-envisioning how to address those challenges. Therefore, we partnered up with Deltares and blended expertise in, on one hand, planning and design, on the other, delta water environment engineering. Our collaboration produced a plan to build both a future marine economic center and a sustainable and resilient city of high environmental quality.


Weifang Naitonal Agriculture Demonstration Zone Core Area Funtional Zoning Plan

The project is a strategic measure to implement the current national agricultural policies. It covers the food valley (111.32 km2) and the north district of the Free Trade Zone (9.58 km2). Our plan aims to facilitate agricultural opening up, technological innovation, land reformation, integration of agriculture with the second and the third industry, and the creation of new growth drivers. It has mainly addressed three aspects:

– Building a world-class metropolitan food industry area. Learning from the Green-ports of Dutch food industry, and incorporating existing industries and infrastructure, we apply the metropolitan food cluster (MFC) to spatial structuring, and plan functions to support advanced supply chain. This project can be the reference for the whole Weifang region to establish its regional level cluster.

– Planning a future for agriculture, villages and the rural population. Based on existing forms of agricultural activities, local landscape resources and need for industrial functions, we have proposed diverse forms of agricultural activities, ranging from hi-tech closed production at corporate levels, to semi-open and open production at family/community farm levels. The proposal preserves one third of existing villages, and plans for their extended agricultural programs, to allow for social and cultural continuity in the economic and spatial transformation.

– Sustainable urbanization. Our plan is structured with the larger landscape and industrial functions, and embedded with circular economy strategies for industrial and urban metabolism. Specifically, a green-blue network carries ecological functions, urban green spaces and slow traffic system. The industrial areas are oriented with the MFC model and configured with functions along the supply chain. Recycling of water and biomaterials, and energy production from biomass and other types of renewables are planned to further make the industry and city more efficient and sustainable.



Hualong Yellow River Slow Traffic Landscape Design

Hualong locates in the upper stream of Yellow River, where is famous for good water quality and mountainous landscape along the riverfront. Hualong Tourist Route is a slow traffic system along the Yellow River which is mainly combined with bike path, walking trails and other ancillary facilities. The slow traffic system can not only greatly improves the accessibility and connectivity of the riverfront area, but also serves as a platform to present the magnificent of Yellow River, rural landscape, natural and cultural attractions along the route. The system enhances the attractiveness of Hualong as a tourist destination and promote Qunke as “ Upstream Yellow River Pearl Tourism Belt” to become an important development node.

Ledu Chaoyang Mountain Park

Chaoyang Mountain in Ledu district of Haidong, is famous for its outstanding Danxia land form. Since Haidong municipality would be relocated in Ledu district, Chaoyang Mountain area would be developed as a comprehensive mountain park, highlight with its Daxia land form and forestry value.

The Design emphasizes eco-recovery. Site conditions, including soil, water, climate, are used to inform dynamic local plants groups. The Project helps HaiDong establish its identity as a “green mountain, green valley and green city”. Along with the improvement to the accessibility, connectivity, landscape quality, and ecological value, the park serves as an important frontier for the entire mountain park. The Project provides resources for education, recreation, leisure and outdoor exploration, it will showcase LeDu’s natural resources and cultural identity.



This project is part of the national program ‘Room for the River’ that secures the future of the Dutch rivers and helps to deal with flood risks. For this particular project, NLUS designed three options for the development of the river banks. The starting point was to make sure the capacity of the river was increased, resulting in a ‘preferred’ design of a small gully in the bottleneck of the river, creating a small island which could house a recreational facility, a beach and a marina.
In addition, new natural qualities can be introduced along the new, lowered river banks. Additional housing projects have been investigated to increase the total quality of the area.


The revitalization of a former industrial zone takes shape in a new residential area, where the motto is ‘Living in a park atmosphere’. The existing ‘Oranjepark’ flows naturally into the new urban plan, where most of the parking space is placed underground. The dwellings are elevated onto mounds, clearly separating public and private space. Historical elements like a water tower and a former firehouse, as well as a reference to a former estate, solidify the cultural heritage of the location. A significant building is the apartment complex situated along the inner harbor that ‘Buizengat’ is named after.



Delft Residential Community Plan

In the style of the garden city, this former industrial plot of 5 ha has been redeveloped into a high quality mixed residential area with 200 single family houses and apartments. The transformed area is located close to the historical heart of Delft.

Starting point of the design was to create ground based houses at relatively high density (40 dwellings/ acre). The design enhances the spatial and historic context to create an attractive neighborhood with high living quality. The built parking solutions were required to keep the heart of the area car free.

Canals were added to meet the requirements for extra water surface. The channel system mitigates the flooding risk due to heavy rains. This presented the opportunity to introduce new qualities in public space, as well as new ecological zones.