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Nanhu New Country Village
Winner - Silver
Designer: Ellen Lou - Director of Urban Design and Planning
Design Type: Master Plan
Company / Organization / School: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Team Members: John Kriken, Consulting Partner Andrea Wong, Project Manager Keiko Murayama, Senior Planner John Sugrue, Senior Planner Urban Design Team Joo Cho Laura Shifley
China’s rapid urbanization is radically diminishing its already distressed agricultural landscapes. In addition to significant environmental degradation, China’s farming systems are inefficient compared to countries with modern agricultural practices, producing very low outputs related to high labor inputs. To address this, farm reform policies have been introduced including farm reorganization, enlarged operational scale, technology integration, and rural revitalization. Addressing issues of urban growth and food security with a new development pattern of agricultural villages at urban edges, Nanhu Village introduces a series of strategies to ensure a secure food supply, promote healthy living, create jobs for future generations, improve water quality, and manage urban growth in order to protect agricultural resources. Modern technologies and sustainable practices improve productivity, while the introduction of new, high-quality, produce creates a special identity for the region. The design coalesces the site’s agrarian setting with its transit access and urban amenities to create a compact, walkable village with abundant access to open space. Of the 1,100 hectare site, over 700 are maintained as working farms. Focused around the intricate canal network, the traditional Jiangnan architectural style of the region is reinterpreted to create an urban form that is integrated with environment. The plan remediates contamination of the canal network and reduces water use through wetland treatment zones and innovative water strategies. A first of its kind in scale and goals, the project sets a new standard in modern, ecological and agricultural village living, and serves as a model for future development throughout China.