Working with the local government in Nantong, China, our team of urban planners, ecologists, economists and landscape designers transformed the city’s new Eco-corridor by reconnecting and reshaping the river and water systems and perfecting the green space network in the area.

They applied an infrastructure-oriented development (IOD) approach on the project, via construction of riverside wetland habitats and rainwater gardens, for example, which resulted in improved soil quality that protects native vegetation. The approach also led to the creation of recreation activities that helps promoting a healthier lifestyle for visitors and locals.

Located where the Yangtze River meets the Yellow Sea, the Eco-corridor stretches 7.5 miles from north to south, covering approximately 836 hectares of previously unused industrial areas. By providing a long-term drainage solution to the Yangtze River Delta, the rebuilt ecological zone is helping to recover the natural forest area and waterways that were previously damaged due to rapid industrialization, inappropriate agricultural practices and pollution. It is also mitigating and stabilizing existing pollutants found in the soil and water.

The team designed the Eco-corridor landscape to achieve these four goals:

1. Be effective in ecological water management: Now that the river network is connected, the water quality has been upgraded from Class V to IV. Various stormwater structures such as permeable paving, bioswales, raingardens, wetlands and green roofs were implemented to capture and treat run-off in addition to the larger system. After purification, treated water will be discharged to the Yangtze River.

2. Build an ecological corridor: Inspired by the concept in rural riverside wetland communities (e.g. reed or moss grass communities), our team created a riverside wet zone by using pine piles as the revetment, which not only effectively reduce the erosion of the water level on the sandy soil of the river bank, but could also be integrated with aquatic plants in the long-term providing a stable habitat for the plant and animal species live in the wetland.

3. Reconnect green space network: The Eco-corridor features “green” infrastructure that eliminates rain and flood and introduces a balanced ecological urban lifestyle to the citizens. The 8.6-mile greenway is now paved to accommodate cyclists, joggers and pedestrians while allowing access to emergency vehicles, and includes a continuous eco-cultural green ring that allows for a variety of recreational activities for people in all ages.

4. Promote urban development: A part of Nantong’s city development vision and strategy, the project’s ecological green belt around the city creates a catalyst for future sustainable development in the area. The increasing resident population, rising employment opportunities and stronger economic momentum created by the project make the Eco-corridor a model of balanced ecological lifestyle and economic sustainability in China.


  • HKIUD Urban Design Award 2019 – Merit
  • IFLA Asia-Pac LA Award 2019 – Award of Excellence