Mandaworks, Gossamer & Arcadis were commissioned as part of an international competition, organized by the Shenzhen Bureau of Urban Planning & Natural Resources, to create a new resilient masterplan for one of Shenzhen’s last remaining natural coastlines. At the doorstep to one of China’s largest cities, the new Xichong Coastal Reserve enhances the natural seaside getaway experience, protects local ecosystems and communities, whilst supporting a new ecological tourism industry for a burgeoning Chinese middle class. The Coastal Reserve protects the region’s rich biodiversity and restores historic fishing villages.
In late 2018, Typhoon Manghut devastated southern China, causing billions of dollars in damage. Since then, a swathe of reconstruction projects have been underway. Despite being in a typhoon zone, popular beach destinations have approved new high density mega-developments along their beachfronts. The Xichong Coastal Reserve is markedly different. The masterplan prioritizes typhoon resistance, ecological restoration and preservation of local villages. In this way, the design reflects the broader shift within China towards sensitive development, environmental protection, cultural preservation, and genuine nature experiences.
Landscape Driven Urbanism
Xichong Coastal Reserve leads with a progressive landscape approach integrating transport, urban design, architecture, engineering and tourism strategies prioritize environmentally driven solutions to a wide range of challenges. The robust landscape-led framework allows for a rational development strategy that enhances the area’s biodiversity, environment and extreme weather resiliency.
Xichong Coastal Reserve restores natural water flows by repairing eroded river corridors, wetlands and coastal mangrove habitats. This then provided a suite of tourist experiences from boardwalks, kayaking routes, bird hides and floating markets, while new flood-proof residences responds to the natural river system. Upgrades to existing farmland, allowing for organic agriculture, markets and teahouses are protected by surrounding mountains that create opportunities for new lookouts, bicycle trails, hiking shelters and cliff walks.