Modern urbanization emphasizes comprehensive improvements in the quality of urban construction and a transformation from incremental planning to stock and reduction planning, by pursuing the economical, intensive, prudent and efficient use of urban land, so as to solve complex urban challenges.
Since the 21st century, urban development has gradually shifted away from a traditionally crude and outward-looking model to a more concentrated and reflective model, which reflects the growing concerns people have about the quality and livability of cities. As a physical space and natural ecology, the layout, quality and functions of urban green spaces are an important factor in determining the quality of a city. However, with the acceleration of urbanization, the available land resources in high-density cities are becoming more and more limited, and cities are facing increasingly serious environmental and ecological problems due to growing populations, of which one of the manifestations is the continuous squeezing and encroachment of urban green space.
In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit officially adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to thoroughly address the three dimensions of development-social, economic and environmental-in an integrated manner. One of the development goals for cities is “to build inclusive, safe, risk-resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements”. In this context, the construction of urban green spaces, which integrate humanistic and natural elements with municipal projects, play an important role in improving urban environments and urban livability, achieving reductions in carbon emissions, and promoting sustainable urban development in the context of stock and reduction planning. Guided by this concept, urban construction pays greater attention to the rational and efficient use of resources and ensuring harmony between human beings and nature, thus promoting the virtuous development of society.
With more than twenty years of landscape design and planning experience, we are constantly exploring ways to maximize integrated functions into landscape design as a medium for the advancement of society. We are committed to bridging professional boundaries and pursuing a “borderless” paradigm of cooperation, connecting urban features and the natural environment with peoples daily lifestyles, needs, perceptions and behaviors, promoting the integration and development of composite functions of urban organisms, and expanding the domain of landscape design.
Landscape planning and integrated design is a solution that takes into account the surrounding environment, timeframe, and people. It is a new model for the innovative construction of urban green infrastructure, which considers the overall spatial and functional structure of a city, the integration of urban green spaces, urban infrastructure, and cultural services, and their relation with the actual needs of users, under the premise of clarifying the site’s innate characteristics in accordance with local conditions, and the integration of transportation, energy, ecological restoration and other municipal initiatives within the scope of landscape design. It both adapts to the needs of urban functions and avoids further damage to the existing urban ecology from excessive construction. Based on this premise, it explores the maximum potential for integrating functions related to landscape planning and design, and the integration of social, economic, ecological, cultural and aesthetic benefits.
Throughout this process, we consistently uphold the design concept of “integrating landscapes into daily life”, with the core value of caring for people in these contexts, cherishing the value of cultural heritage, and attaching importance to the sociological function of landscape design. Our ultimate goal is to use professional methods to reconcile the relationship between people and their environment, alleviate the pressures of human existence, and ensure an overall dynamism, so as to establish healthy and sustainable lifestyles, stimulate peoples vitality and productivity, and enhance a general sense of happiness and belonging in those who wish to “abide”. It is a natural response to endeavor to reshape peoples living conditions and the perception of their environment by revitalizing the surrounding urban ecology. This approach of “affecting change unseen” is precisely the goal we relentlessly pursue.
This book focuses on the landscape design practices of the View Unlimited design team and their application in the planning of the Beijing Municipal Administrative Center Pilot Start-up Area. It retraces the design teams process, starting more than ten years ago with the landscape design of the Bolong Lake Economic Zone Complex (a new urban area construction project) and the landscape planning and design of Jiefang South Road in Tianjin (an organic urban regeneration project). For various reasons, these two projects could not be fully implemented but their design concepts have been adopted and continued, ultimately resulting in the realization of the Beijing Municipal Administrative Center Pilot Start-up Area.
The purpose of compiling this book is to offer a summary before embarking on a new journey. It is a collection of the harvests from regrets, the records of our growth, and the expectations we have for ourselves moving forward.
View Unlimited Landscape Architecture Studio, China Academy of Urban Planning and Design