KCAP and  local partner CAUPD have won the Longgang Riverfront Competition in Shenzhen, China. The joint proposal for the 80 ha riverfront area was awarded first prize unanimously by the judges. The award concluded a three stage international competition that started with four international teams. 

The competition called for a comprehensive transformation strategy and framework design for the entire 46 km2 Longgang waterfront area. This former industrial area is undergoing a fast transformation towards an attractive and innovative area for working and living. The transformation strategy focusses on a strong green-blue network with the so-called river-anchors as new thematic centers on hub locations. In the last stage of the competition process the team zoomed in on one of those areas.

The focus area is located on the confluence of two rivers and contains traces of the city’s historical settlements and an existing park. Characteristic for the area are the historic structures of the Hakka, a particular cultural community. This unique position confronted the design team with the challenge of dealing with the past in a meaningful and sensible way.

Inspired by Bruce Katz’s principles of ‘new localism’, the concept provides for appealing urban place making. It is rooted in the confined culture and history of the Hakka heritage and at the same time, it defines a respectful transformation of urban villages and industrial areas while integrating the local communities. The design concept provides an innovative and adaptive approach towards the creation of futureproof cities.

With the metaphor of the local Banyan tree, the urban concept positions a new central park with culture facilities and a design academy as a centrality at the riverfront. It fully integrates the landscape and the river, while extending its ‘roots’ from the park towards the surrounding Hakka heritage hotspots and the historic city center.

The plan introduces a range of perimeter block types that respect and integrate the local urban structures by preserving the current urban village and, where appropriate, introducing new loft buildings. This versatile type aims to create flexible spaces for a new economy while promoting a gradual societal transition from production towards an innovation community. As such, the proposal will have a strong and broad impact on the general regeneration of Longgang Riverfront.

The local government of Longgang District has the ambition to realise the riverfront transformation within a relatively short time. KCAP and CAUPD are currently working on the elaboration of the plans.

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