Location: Shuangliu County, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Client: Shuangliu County Government Urban Planning Bureau, Chengdu

The JinJiang (“Brocade River”) flows through Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan, on its way south to the Yangtze River. Once a thoroughfare of commerce, the river is now quiet and peaceful, with many relics of busy and sometimes turbulent history still in evidence. Plans for expansion of Chengdu envisioned a rigid grid of urban development expanding southward and effectively encasing the river in an engineered straitjacket.

In the face of this increased development pressure, the Shuangliu County government hired Johnson Fain to create a plan and policy document for the express purpose of protecting the assets of the JinJiang. This document was to provide the framework for protecting water quality, environmental enhancement, promoting tourism, and improving the agricultural economy and rural lifestyle in the river valley.

Our plan redefines the river corridor as the entire watershed of the JinJiang within the county jurisdiction and proposes strict planning controls for water quality and environmental protection within this area. Instead of reducing and limiting the planned southward urban expansion from Chengdu, the plan proposes to divert this growth to southwestern area of Shuangliu, allowing urbanization to flow around the JinJiang valley rather than through it. The protected riparian corridor is reserved for tourism, agricultural and environmental enhancement.

The broad river plain will contain restored wetlands and stream corridors to clean urban runoff and create a bucolic rural environment for small towns, tourist attractions, and luxury resorts. Sustainability is emphasized in a series of policies to promote organic farming, forest restoration, and ecological bio-gas waste-to-energy management facilities. Within the river a series of new low dams is planned, recreating the ancient water control system used to render the river navigable as the basis for creating a new river-oriented recreational and tourist resource.