Throughout history, rivers have held a crucial role in industry as well as recreation, sometimes at the cost of one or the other. In the case of the Yangtze River, modern developers are dedicated to creating a balance that includes both.
Located in Jiangyin City, Jiangsu Province, China, this particular district was pinned for regeneration, and a design competition awarded BAU (Brearley Architects + Urbanists) the winning design plan. The resulting multistage plan will see the Jiangyin industrial docklands converted into a multipurpose live/work area that softens the edges of the often overbuilt river’s edge.
Stage one of this major project is the creation of a 4 km public realm along the river edge, and it brings with it goals to re-establish indigenous ecosystem corridors while preserving the industrial character of the area. To achieve this goal, the urban design team started by working with the natural tidal microhabitats. They provided habitats for animals as well as support to minimize degradation. Designers implemented a corridor of indigenous trees and plants in order to outline the pathway that connects the Ebizui mountain ecological node to the east with the canal eco-corridor toward the west, which was a primary goal of the project. This serves to provide biking and pedestrian pathways along the water and between districts within the development and surrounding area.
To further engage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, the plan includes sports courts, a skate park, several children’s play areas, including one in the shape of a ship, and an area for exercise. There are also gathering areas within the large pavilions and dance plazas, along with more intimate areas for relaxation, games and picnics.
Honoring the deep history of the region, ship slipways, gantry cranes and rails, ship-building factory structures, jetties and numerous other artifacts will be retained. Even the pavement weaves in historical elements, imprinted with interpretive mapping of the Yangtze River. A fish restaurant also stands as a reflection on the historical industry in the region. Information stands throughout the Docklands Park reiterate the relevance of the area for visitors.
Photography by Zeng Jianghe and Xiazhi via BAU