"The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind." Lewis Mumford from 'The Culture of Cities' (1938)
Among the greatest global challenges is continuing human population growth, which places huge demands on the basic fundamentals of life - water, food, shelter and communication. GHDWOODHEAD has been appointed by many government agencies around the world to plan for a sustainable future because we can bring together our wide GHD in-house inter-disciplinary team of urbanists, architects, engineers and scientists to address the complexity of responding to multivalent challenges in the context of immediate local conditions. The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. More than half of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities, and the UN anticipates that by 2030 this number will grow to about 5 billion. Urbanization can present challenges in many societies but also has the potential to usher in a new era of well-being, resource efficiency and economic growth. But cities are also home to high concentrations of poverty and inter-related challenges. Nowhere is the rise of inequality clearer than in urban areas, where wealthy communities coexist alongside, and separate from, slums and informal settlements.
The design team led by Mark Separovic of GHDWOODHEAD Adelaide, GHD Changsha and the Hefei Planning Institute made a series of contributions incorporated into the final consolidated Hefei Lakefront New Town Masterplan.
The key principles which needed to be addressed in this Masterplan were: ∙ Walkability ∙ Water City ∙ Connectivity ∙ Healthy ∙ Eco – City
Key geographical and man-made features have created both challenges and opportunities within Lakefront New Town, these include: The River to the south; The existing seawall and waterfront Lake Chao Hu; The Riverside Pearl Opera House; and The National Highway. Lake Chao Hu is a prominent element within the Lakefront New Town site, the Master Plan acknowledges and develops strong links with the lakefront edge by orientating buildings and roads to face and take advantage of the Lakefront views.
The Hefei Lakefront New Town Masterplan is divided into 11 precincts. One of the key precincts is Precinct 1, the Eco Resort Islands Precinct which had many challenges including the development of islands that could withstand tidal movements and waves that can increase from 5 to 8 meters in height. Precinct 2, the CBD Riverside Pearl Area is designed around an internal lake and is a compact economic core area of the New Town with land mark buildings creating a unique charm and character centered on an internal lake with strong connections to Lake Chao Hu. A Mixed Use Residential and Open Space precinct (Precinct 3) was developed with a vision to incorporate community facilities and residential areas with areas of natural open space, linear trails and waterways. A key element of the Mixed Use Precinct is the linear open space areas with water transport and canals. These provide strong connections to the other areas of the City and the Lake. In addition, the open space waterways provide a healthy environment that cleans the storm water entering the lake and provides for a natural habit for flora and fauna. This precinct provides a transition from the CBD and is ideally suited for residential use due to its proximity to open space and waterways - which also provide natural views The remaining precincts include: ∙ Mixed Use and Arts Precinct; ∙ Memory Walk Precinct; ∙ Cultural Precinct; ∙ Aquatic Precinct; ∙ Eco Housing precinct; ∙ Film Studio and Fishing Village Precinct; and ∙ Dolphin Islands Precinct.
The Masterplan has endeavoured to provide strong connections between precincts through the design of pedestrian focused boulevards with sheltered plazas that provide clear sight lines to other key landmarks. In addition, linkages have also been created via water canal connections.