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Buji River

An urban watershed

The Buji River is running through Shenzhen’s oldest district, called Luohu. Over the course of time, the Buji River has transformed from a natural stream into a constrained urban drainage canal facing severe water quality challenges. Moreover the river has to cope with increasing climate extremes like prolonged periods of drought as well as extreme rainfall events.

The Luohu government is using strategic investments into transport and open space networks to boost the district’s urban quality. Strategies to improve the water quality and management are unified with the transformation of existing urban quarters and redevelopment of industrial plots. This offers an integrated roadmap towards a genuine shared identity for Luohu district.

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To turn the river back into a driver of spatial quality, we propose a strategy that transforms Buji River as a constrained drainage canal into a functioning urban watershed. Being located in a dense urban fabric with high socioeconomic value, Buji River cannot be simply restored to its original state. Instead, a number of small scale interventions have to be applied to gradually increase its water quality, discharge its capacity but most of all increase its position as a high quality urban resource that radiates over the complete area.

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CURRENT

In the current water system wastewater and storm water are partly combined. Different types of pollution are directly drained to the Buji River: river water, surface drainage, sewage systems, industrial waste water and storm water.

SEPARATED SYSTEMS

To establish a healthy urban watershed, the different water systems are (temporarily) separated into 3 spatial structures: the Riverfront, the Riverbed and the River basin. The advantage of this approach is control. By operating the different water systems independently, a staged and tailored approach can be exploited to revitalize them. When up to standard, they can be merged into an integrated system.

INTEGRATED SYSTEM

When the waste water network is exploited to the fullest, the main pollution of the Buji River is gone, and all surface water systems can be reconnected into an integrated system.

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Riverfront – sequence of rivers

The main challenge of the river is dealing with the large variability of water levels. The river gets a diversified sequence of sections, incorporating measures to deal with this variability in a way that responds to the surroundings.

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Riverbed - second river

To make the river a driver for spatial quality, the water quality has to be improved. Therefore we introduce a second water system that separates rainwater from the current River in the Buji Basin. The new ´river´ is an interconnected network of diverse spaces, turning the area into 3 distinct zones/environments:

  • Small squares and parks are integrated to store and infiltrate water in the upper catchment area
  • Existing (and new) open landscapes in the middle section are connected, and turned into water retention and purification facilities
  • The river canal is widened and streets are turned into amphibious boulevards to drain the rainwater as fast as possible in the southern part

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Riverbasin - Green-blue network

The infrastructure leading towards the Buji River is transformed into a green-blue network.

  • The upper catchment area integrates open and underground canals, increasing collection and (temporary) storage capacity
  • The central catchment area integrates wadi’s to delay water discharge to the river
  • The lower catchment area integrates amphibious streets to drain water as fast as possible to the river

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The integrated landscape framework generates a diverse public realm. Different networks connect facilities and services. Within 30 minutes, a diversity of landscapes are accessible: mountains, rivers, lakes and gardens. These landscape are surrounded by clearly identified neighborhoods offering diverse urban environments. Within 15 minutes, you can shift from a highly dynamic environment on the new plaza, to a quiet and natural environment in the park. Both are loaded with associated programs. Within 5 minutes, a diversity of recreational, sports, commercial and private spaces is within reach. This allows for a generous environment to live and work in.

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Year

2018

Location

Shenzen, China

Type

Masterplan, Infrastructure

Client

People’s Government of Luohu District, Shenzhen

Size

560 ha

Awards

3rd Prize

Team & partners

Michiel Van Driessche
Deborah Lambert
Marnix Vink
Fangfei Liu
Zofia Krzykawska
Fanny Genti
Ilva Mishtaku
Klaudio Ruci
Mariya Protsyk
Steven Broekhof
Thiemo Tippmann
MLA+
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

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  3. 'Typhoon-proof' Shenzhen's East Coast
  4. Brainport Smart District Helmond
  5. Towards a healthy city by foot
  6. Isle of Dikes
  7. The Unbound Amsterdam
  8. A green entrance for the airport
  9. Almazov National Medical Research Centre
  10. Quartierlandschaft Dietenbach
  11. Bao’An G107 Corridor
  12. Cartesius Quarter
  13. Public Space Alpen
  14. Smakkelaarsveld Utrecht
  15. Darmstadt Masterplan 2030+
  16. Jonas Amsterdam
  17. Healthy Tracks
  18. Waterfront Novosibirsk
  19. City Square Tyumen
  20. Urban Food Forest Rijnvliet Utrecht
  21. Strategic Urban Green Study
  22. Public Space Strategy Kanpur
  23. ImageWharf
  24. Ódinstorg Square
  25. Overloon War Museum
  26. Lokhalle Leverkusen
  27. Ludlstrasse Munich
  28. Yaanila Country Park
  29. Redevelopment Strategy Vogabyggð
  30. Villa Garden
  31. City life in the woods
  32. Schie Quarter Schiedam
  33. Socio-technical city of the future
  34. Buji River
  35. Vaskhnil Novosibirsk
  36. Precincts Canterbury Cathedral
  37. Maritime Campus Almere
  38. Resilient Riverscape Berat
  39. Sijthoff
  40. Strategic Plan Shkodra
  41. Ekaterinburg City Campus
  42. City Extension Plan Yangon
  43. Transformation Strategy Gufunes
  44. Transformation Strategy Chelyabinsk
  45. Fish Market Leuven
  46. Zinder Culture Cluster
  47. Food Innovation Strip Ede-Wageningen
  48. S4 Highway Hangzhou
  49. Strategic Plan Fier
  50. Strategic Plan Elbasan
  51. Kronenburg Business Park
  52. Dharavi Mumbai
  53. Masterplan Smáralind Mall
  54. Urban Test Farm Emmen
  55. Ásbrú Enterprise Park
  56. Asylum Seekers Center Ter Apel
  57. Berlin Am Volkspark
  58. The Museum of the 20th Century
  59. Gardabaer
  60. Metropolitan Westerpark Amsterdam
  61. Science and Technology City Chongqing
  62. Yue Xiu 353 Transformation
  63. Erlongshan Recreational Park
  64. Danxia Recreational Park
  65. Campus Lelystad
  66. University Campus San Pedro
  67. Proto Tamansari
  68. City Gardens Tyumen
  69. Park Somerlust Amsterdam
  70. Agricultural Innovation Campus
  71. Bandar Lampung Park
  72. R&D Campus Fengxian
  73. S-West Eindhoven
  74. Biodiversity based dairy farming
  75. Heidelberg Creative Quarter
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