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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.

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.

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.


The development of this Metropolitan Park is an initiative of the Rotterdam-Dordrecht region and the state. In an interactive process with all surrounding municipalities and the most important stakeholders and decision makers, the future development potential was investigated. The main goal of the park is to improve the spatial quality, livability and economic potential of the surrounding cities. Our vision focuses on the elaboration of a framework as a basis for flexible future development. The landscape framework realizes a solid improvement of the spatial quality of the landscape, improves the general accessibility to recreation of the area, and fortifies the local identities. Within this framework, six models have been developed, each with a different focus. Further investigation was based on the ‘nature park’ and ‘water park’ models.


Anshun Xixiu District Xingjiang River Upstream Water Environment Management

Xingjiang River is the first level branch of Wujiang River. It is the ‘mother river’ of Anshun. The upper stream has attractive Karst landscape. Here is also the home of Minorities who has special type of building, named Tunpu. However, the river environment are polluted and chanalized. The quality of ecology and flooding safety problem influence the local society and economy which need to be improved urgently.
The goal of this project is to comprehensively enhance the safety level for flood control and river ecology of upstream tributaries of Xingjiang River. At the same time, stimulating the added value of the area is another goal. The plan drops the commonly used traditional single solution off: no building hard dykes only for flood control; no proposing development restriction policies only for ecology recovery; no relying on the water purification factory. Instead, we are going to create a multi-level planning strategy by using eco-friendly method on improving the follow aspects: improving flood carrying capacity of the river; improving flood storage capacity of river and river control areas; enhancing the self-purification capacity of the water bodies. Meanwhile by designing with professional landscape knowledge we can achieve the improvement of environmental quality. The specific strategies also include returning land to the river, building ecol-gully, eco-green land construction etc.