The Shantou Estuary forms a valuable natural setting from the mountains to the river and the sea. The area comprises the inner bay of Shantou, covering an overall design area of 117 square kilometres. This includes 54 kilometres of the bay coast, the city centre’s urban area, harbour and the redeveloping of old industrial sites. Like many large Chinese cities, Shantou is under pressure from urbanisation and climate change. Our team objective was to develop a design vision for a resilient urban landscape for Shantou’s Inner Bay.

Shantou, China
Project area
117 km²
Shantou Government, SCUT, Guangzhou City Planning & Design Survey Research Institute
Mixst Urbanism, Delft University of Technology

We have created an urban planning and landscape architecture design that comprises a holistic approach. It has a focus on sustainable development, well-being and inclusive growth and includes implementation of multifunctional flood protection for river and sea, enlargement of green-blue structures, transit-oriented development and the generation of innovative urban typologies. The focus is on sustainable development, well-being and inclusive growth.


Creator of meaningful places

Workshop approach

The quality of the location is important to the city: Much of Shantou’s activity is strongly focused on its relationship with the water. Yet, at the same time, it makes the city vulnerable. Over half of the area is covered by water, with some parts being mountainous. Due to climate change and ambitions for further urbanisation, it is important to have a clear landscape vision for the future. As a team, together with Gensler, Aecom and the local Chinese government, we developed multiple visions for Shantou Bay through an international design workshop.

Creator of meaningful places

Embracing urbanisation and climate change

Through intensive exploration, four key areas came into focus for further development: Niutianyang, the dock area, the power plant area, the wharf storage area, and the area alongside the enchanting Mayu Island. Our mission was clear: to create a design vision for a resilient urban landscape. The fabric of our urban planning and landscape architecture vision embraces multifunctional flood protection, the expansion of green-blue structures, transit-oriented development, and innovative urban typologies. Sustainability, well-being, and inclusive growth remain at the heart of our endeavour.

We have prioritised water sensitivity, ensuring responsible management of rain, river, and seawater. By enhancing the sponge effect, lower-lying Shantou flooding can be prevented, and water can be utilised more efficiently. Additionally, we aim to strengthen the ecological gradient between mountains and coast, with a special focus on restoring and developing associated ecosystems, including mangroves. Applying principles to handle erosion and sedimentation in the coastal area allows for further promotion of sustainability.


Crafting an eco-harbour city

Our vision for Shantou Inner Bay aspires to transform it into an alluring destination that celebrates its landscape qualities and cultural heritage, breathing new life into this coastal town and fostering economic growth. Through a seamless integration of landscape and urban development, we envision Shantou as an eco-harbour city with a flourishing natural bay. Our plan ensures the interconnectedness of mountains, bay, rivers, and city, allowing nature’s splendour to thrive in every corner of this captivating realm. With this vision, Shantou Inner Bay will redefine itself, resonating as an emblem of sustainable, harmonious living in the embrace of its enchanting landscape.


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