Guanlan River Eco-cultural Corridor, Phases 1 & 2

Location: Shenzhen, China
Date: 2013-2014
Size: 15.9 KM2
Program: Design overall master plan of Guanlan River and integrate of the waterfront functions;Shape the spatial forms and styles with the district features; Define the key spaces that help achieve the overall objective.


Longhua New District is faced with many problems and challenges in its development. Planned urbanization lags behind industrialization, social construction lags behind economic development, human resources development lags behind the development of land resources - especially with limited land resources, unsustainable traditional development modes, few tertiary industries to optimize industrial structure, and not yet perfected independent innovation mechanisms. Social services need to expand. New urban construction needs to focus more on quality. Population density is high, though living standards are low. The pressures put on the ecological environment are threatening sustainability and the state of resource management is poor. Land problems persist from earlier times. And, urban renewal costs are high, restricting new transformative development.

Through a concerted reconstruction of public space and appropriate allocation of public resources, the existing fragmented, disconnected and under-served spaces and activities can be improved and connected. By fostering knowledge skills in combination with entertainment and leisure activities an opportunity is created for nurturing socially sustainable growth within the entertainment area.

  • I do all my shopping at the Old Guanlan Market. The food is so fresh, and I like supporting local shop owners.
  • Shenzhen has so much traffic. It’s nice being able to walk around without all the noise and pollution.
  • New entry plaza welcomes visitors and orients them towards the heritage villages.
  • I can’t wait to see the old Hakka villages! The metro makes it so easy to get here now.
  • Blend scales of buildings to match new development with the existing urban fabric.
  • This market is so cool! I feel like I am shopping in the real Old Guanlan.
  • My business is doing well. The old shopping streets get most visitors than they used to.
  • I’ve lived in Old Guanlan my entire life. The new parks and green streets make this old town feel young and alive.
  • I just started walking along the river from Guanlan Center. I didn’t even know the park went this far.
  • Small scale development helps promote local shops and businesses.
  • The best way to spend a summer night is at the Chinese opera. Old Guanlan has the best operas. And food.
  • I work at a factory during the day, but spend my afternoon learning how to install and service solar panels.
  • I didn’t know so many animals lived in the river! When I grow up I’m going to make sure they still live there.
  • There is so much to do along the river. Old Guanlan is a great place for children.
  • Rehabilitate urban village to reduce density and increase public space and facilities.


In collaboration with: NODE Office

Project Team: Jeffrey Johnson and Jill Leckner (principals); Matthew Voss,Yuan Ge, Li Yang, Min Chen, Shiyao Yu, Louise Juelsgaard