Ya-Hsin Chen speaks at Waterfront Symposium

Organized by magazines Landscape and The Planners, the International Symposium on Waterfront Planning and Landscape Design, held in Shenzhen, China on 16-17 April, focused on innovative ecology strategies functionality and multi-disciplinary waterfront planning and landscape design. Twelve experts, scholars, and leaders of renowned architectural and planning design firms talked in front of about 650 stakeholders from more than 100 Chinese cities.

Ya-Hsin Chen, associate partner at KCAP, attended the event in Shenzhen as a speaker. In Shenzhen, KCAP did its first big-scale regeneration masterplan in China 10 years ago. In the meantime, there have been quite some new projects, from New Water City, Qianhai Waterfront Development to East Dike Dapeng, a typhoon-proof coastal reconstruction masterplan.

The lecture ‘Towards Blue Urbanism’ Ya-Hsin shared with the audience, presented the advanced water management, rooted in the Dutch DNA, as a sample of an urban habitat in close relationship to water. Two examples served to underline KCAP's expertise. One was the HafenCity Hamburg - the construction started exactly 20 years ago - the other Guangming Reservoir Blueway Shenzhen. In that context, it is evident how KCAP applies its international planning experience to local conditions regarding the innovative strategy of a sustainable water-sensitive urban transformation. Both projects consider the challenges of climate change, paying attention to aspects like flood protection, urban breeding, ecological quality, and biodiversity.

Focusing on new values, KCAP's proposal for Guangming from end of 2020 goes beyond conventional development models and considers ecological conservation and economic development. So we have looked into a modern version of the Chinese classical landscape model to find a way to integrate the new needs with the natural elements. The idea is to create an environment that serves as a reservoir for drinking water and can also become a resource for leisure time.

In her speech, Ya-Hsin encouraged designers to combine three qualities: pragmatic thinking of engineers, the aesthetic sense of architects, and the foresight view of planners. She outlined the philosophy of KCAP, from a design-led and multi-disciplinary approach, towards a flexible framework that replaces the rigid blueprint masterplan. Because at KCAP, we know that the city is in infinite transformation and every intervention has to adapt to future and constantly changing needs.

You can find the presentation (in Chinese) here.

Photo by Beijing Unionfriendship Exchange Center for Architecture