Fish Tail Park is a combination of architectural, landscape, urban and environmental design. As a result, the park provides recreational access for the community, while simultaneously buffering it from the effects of monsoons.
A functional environment
Landscape architect Turenscape conceived the park from a neglected 126-acre section of land located in the city of Nanchang, within the Yangtze River flood plain in east-central China. Using functional design elements, Turnescape created zones that effectively regulate stormwater, which is a common occurrence in the area. This was achieved through positioning native plants along the shorelines that can survive in conjunction with the ebb and flow of the water levels. In addition, a lake was formed to act as a temporary reservoir when waters rise. There are also terraced constructed wetlands designed to filter urban runoff.
A place for recreation
The designers wanted to encourage use of the park, engaging surrounding neighborhoods and promoting urban development in the improved district. Visitors can walk, run and ride bikes or scooters along the elevated pathways. In addition, the park contains natural playgrounds, beaches, fountains and lawns.
During monsoons, some of the concrete walkways become covered with water, but they are easily put back into service once the water recedes. Other boardwalks remain above the 20-year flood line for limited coverage and continued access.
Even during the dry season, the chosen trees and wetland plants provide a thriving marsh rather than a muddy landscape. This design provides for both visitors and wildlife in the park. The soil and structural stability also protects the habitat against degradation.
“Fish Tail Park offers a replicable model of designed urban nature for regions with monsoon or variable climates that can address the multiple challenges of floods, habitat restoration and recreational demands,” reported the architects. “The project is part of a larger effort by the landscape architect to show that it is possible to open up new space in cities, not just for people, but also for nature, and for powerful forces like monsoon storms that drive critical natural processes.”
Images via Turenscape