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American Society of Landscape Architects


August 2004 Issue

Future Scale
China's Jinji Lake development offers new challenges for landscape architects.

By Mary G. Padua, ASLA

Future Scale
© EDAW 2003, Photography by Dixi Carillo

The scale and complexity of the Jinji Lake project are extraordinary even by Chinese standards. It is comparable to planning a new mixed-use Manhattan waterfront covering an area from the East River to Second Avenue and the East Village to Harlem. At more than 500 hectares (1,235 acres), the Jinji Lake Landscape Master Plan probably is the largest landscape master planning and design effort being implemented anywhere in the world.

The Jinji Lake development is a new community along the shore of a natural freshwater lake. It lies in the heart of New Suzhou, a planned town about four kilometers away from the old Suzhou city center. Suzhou is a city of more than 5 million people located about 50 miles from Shanghai in an area marked by some of the most rapid industrial development on the planet. Suzhou is known throughout China as home to classical Chinese gardens, including several that are world heritage sites. The Jinji Lake project includes high-end residential facilities, commercial areas, an arts and entertainment district, and extensive open space for recreation.

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