“Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development at an unprecedented scale,” said project chief designer Thomas Hussey of SOM’s Chicago urban planning studio in a press release. “The new district will leverage the high-speed rail to bridge two major metropolitan areas and create a sustainable urban environment that concentrates walkable, compact densities around transit stations, while still preserving existing agriculture and green space.” Located just outside of Beijing, the satellite city and suburb will host 17.6 million square meters of mixed-use development and help develop the Bohai Rim, a region that already accounts for more than a quarter of China’s GDP.
Half of the 1,473-hectare site will be allocated to open space and nature, while the rest will be dedicated to public transport, premier headquarters for advanced industries, and housing and shops for residents. The city will be centered around the high speed rail station with convenient connections to metro and bus lines with access to the five distinct neighborhoods offering diverse housing, education, shopping and work destinations. SOM has already set high targets for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency. The city will also make use of functional environmental systems to filter and clean storm water before returning it to adjoining rivers.
The client commented on the winning design scheme in a written statement, saying, “SOM has designed a human and family-oriented mixed-use urban community within an environmentally friendly framework to attract talented people and forward-thinking Chinese and international firms that want to position themselves in the same way.”