Xiamen Studio. Merging urban development and natural landscape.

Merging urban development and natural landscape: Searching for “spectacular or regular” projects?

The Studio Option focuses on the capacity of large-scale projects to direct the growth and transformation of open territories in big metropolises. It takes the example of Xiamen and its different extensions to investigate their potential for creating one or several centralities or leisure resorts well connected to the natural territory and provide new positive input to the local economy.

Simulation field. The region of Xiamen-Zhangzhou (China) seeks to diversify its economic base by revitalizing Xiangshan Bay, its seafront and natural landscape by capitalizing on the inherent qualities of its culture and traditions. Its position on mainland China and the monumental value of the historical centre of Xiamen present major potential for mobilization.

The gradual diversification of the economy of the great megalopolises of East Asia allows us to imagine the increase in free time of the new middle classes, interested in enjoying a cultivated natural landscape and taking part in sport and free-time activity, as has happened in other developed countries. In this potential field -of tourism and transitional residences-, it can be very attractive to simulate recreational and leisure uses in contact with nature and a reconsideration of the primary uses of the land: like the aquatic activities and fishing, among others. 
The enhancement of water as a spa, leisure and recreational space by means of the creation of various forms of water urbanisms has developed in all cultures: Southern Europe, the USA, later in Asia and more recently in the Middle East. Ways of approaching water have been very different and brought about major changes in the organization of pre-existing or newly created settlements, offering some truly paradigm models that offer a valuable range of experiences.

Relaunching these projects, with the twenty-first century well under way, requires us to take into account environmental commitments—natural space, energy use, etc.—and the great social challenges—inclusive development—that require local demands to be combined with the recreational needs of visitors in order to achieve a more just society. Those are the principles for the Urban Project to be developed in Xiamen-Zhangzhou area; it may simulate a multiple scale strategy including urban architecture and large landscape on its testing capacities.

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