Location: Luzhou County, Sichuan Province China

Client: Luzhou County Government, Sichuan

The Gulin District is one of China’s most rural areas, home to 65 kilometers of the Gulin River and 70 kilometers of the Chishui River, a tributary of the Yangtze. Prior to this plan, there has never been a comprehensive look at land use and environmental policy. Gulin is racing to catch up to economic forces as local industries expand and generate employment, population and environmental pressures.

Our plan includes a range of regional development principles and policy guidelines, conceptual land use plans, design guidelines and a comprehensive environmental overlay – resulting in a four-volume 1,500 page plan document. It has been adopted by Luzhou County and serves as a policy framework for ongoing development decisions to manage the transition from an isolated rural region to urbanization.

The plan promotes the co-existence of the “four pillars” of the region’s economy:

Whiskey Production. The district is home to China’s 1,000-year-old whiskey industry. The perfect climate, exceptionally pure water and mineral content support the nation’s top-ranked distilleries that provide 70% of the region’s tax revenue. The plan’s policy recommendations protect the integrity of this primary industry from mining pollutants that could threaten the critically important waterways.

Coal. Historically local and unregulated, the region’s coal is becoming a national resource which is in need of regulation and management. The plan specifically permits and prohibits areas for coal extraction and mitigates negative impacts through ongoing maintenance of waste and runoff to prevent soil, water and air quality degradation.

Agriculture. Policies are prescribed for soil protection, crop suitability, regional self-sufficiency and sustainable practices for food processing to promote efficiency in farming and controlled urbanization. Co-existence with the coal industry and its potential pollutants, as well as balanced water access with the whiskey industry, leads to land use controls and water access measures.

Tourism. Capitalizing on the area’s principal attractions, the Huangjing National Forest and the local whiskey industry, the Plan seeks to capture a share of the regional eco-tourism market in the three-province area. The plan recommends development of a transportation infrastructure, creation of a regional tourist service center, lodging and local farm restaurants.

The plan recommends district-wide sustainability and energy conservation concepts for future regulations. With a primary focus on water management, policies and strategic recommendations include land resources management guidelines, transportation systems and environmental guidelines for preservation and sustainability.

The plan also lays a pathway for improving substandard public amenities with new and expanded facilities. This will include a variety of new housing opportunities, an array of higher education programs, high-performance business centers, a primary medical center connected to a new university, museums, sports centers, theaters, retail, and parks related to streambeds, hillsides and forests with provisions for bikes and walkability.

The District Master Plan is comprised of five sub-area plans within Gulin District. These are:

  1. Chishui River Whiskey Valley Master Plan
  2. Gulin River Corridor Master Plan
  3. Huangjing Forest Eco-Tourism Master Plan
  4. Erlang Whiskey Town Master Plan
  5. Gulin New Town Master Plan

More information can be found here: Gulin New Town