As one of the top three central business districts in China, Guangzhou Tianhe Central Business District (CBD) is the most concentrated area of South China’s economy, finance, science and technology, business and other high-end industries.

In addition to the grand central axis skyline, the vast Flower City square and Haixinsha park, this area also retains traces of ancient villages with classical Lingnan style, where tradition and modernity blends together.

In order to continuously improve the area’s urbanization quality and regional influence, Guangzhou Tianhe Central Business District Administrative Committee launched the international bidding for “Tianhe CBD Comprehensive Improvement Action Plan” in 2017. The joint venture between AECOM and Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute stood out in the fierce competition.

With the vision of “Blooming Lingnan Vitality”, AECOM team developed a sustainable development plan for Tianhe CBD from five perspectives: cultural identification, functional richness, traffic convenience, environmental amenity and landscape diversity. While excavating local characteristics, with the least disturbance by avoiding massive demolitions or construction, we have integrated the advanced international planning concept and carried out micro-transformation of the built-up areas to cope with various urban problems such as transportation and environment that have emerged in recent years.

Adhering to the principle of respecting each individual experience and optimizing the function of every inch of space, our team explored the potential space hidden in every corner of the city to optimize the proportion of public realm in Zhujiang New Town from 48% to 66%. Besides, exploring innovative models with participation from civilians, the team co-organized a series of public opinion surveys with the well-known local media Southern Metropolis Daily, collecting 800 submissions and more than 50,000 votes. Through benchmarking with international renowned business districts, professional big data analysis and comprehensive field visits, the 651-page Plan was then finally completed.

The Plan outlines the development roadmap of Tianhe CBD in the next decade by formulating a methodical action framework from top-level design to implementation. Addressing six most concerned communal issues, including ecological landscape improvement, comprehensive transportation network, city image identification, international cooperation and investment promotion, cultural improvement, and intelligent management of public services, the Plan proposes a customized holistic Quintuple Value System in respect of Community, Vitality, Networking, Wellbeing and Humanity, leading the Tianhe Central Business District to the world-class model.


  • Grand Award of HKIUD Urban Design Award 2019 – Plan & Concept Category