Qiaoyuan water Park

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Short description

From garbage dump to urban park.


A former garbage dump has been converted into an urban park. It is a water park because storm water is collected and natural process of plant adaptation are taking place.


Qualitative Analysis

Description of the Process

The park measures twenty-two hectares and it is located in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, China. Through Regenerative Design and by changing landforms, the natural process of plant adaptation and community evolution is introduced to transform a former deserted shooting range used as a garbage dump, into a low maintenance urban park. This provides diverse nature’s services for the city including containing and purifying storm water, improving the saline-alkali soil, providing opportunities for environmental education and creating a cherished aesthetic experience. The park is densely populated at the south and east boundaries, the site is bounded on the west and north sides by a highway and an overpass.

Situation before

Rapid urbanization had changed a peripheral shooting range into a garbage dump and drainage sink for urban storm water; the site was heavy polluted, littered, deserted, and surrounded with slums and temporary rickety structures, which had been torn down before the design was commissioned. The soil is quite saline and alkaline.


In early 2006, in response to residents’ call for environmental improvement of the site, the municipal government of Tianjin contracted the landscape architect with the difficult task of an immediate transformation of this degraded site. The overall design goal for this project is to create a park that can provide a diversity of nature’s services for the city and the surrounding urban residents, including: containing and purifying urban storm water; improving the saline-alkali soil through natural processes; recovering the regional landscape with low maintenance native vegetation; providing opportunities for environmental education about native landscapes and natural systems, storm water management, soil improvement, and landscape sustainability; creating a cherished aesthetic experience. The park achieved its goals in just two years. Storm water is retained in the water cavities, allowing diverse water-sensitive communities to evolve. Seasonal changes in plant species occur and integrate with the beauty of the “messy” native landscape, attracting thousands of visitors every day. In the first two month of its opening, from the October to November of 2008, about 200,000 people visited the park.

Factors that contributed to the success of the project

It is a successful park which changes its landscape throughout the year period, it is constantly visited by the community and needs very little maintenance.

Spatial quality

This project helps to define the new aesthetics of landscape today, defined by a continuous evolving process. Untidy forms, unplanned biodiversity and nature’s “messiness” keep ongoing, letting plants live and expose their genuine beauty to enrich the landscape. The ecology-driven Adaptation Palettes has become a valuable and remarkable site of the community of Tianjin.

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