DHV to develop ecological coastal city in China

The engineering consultancy DHV has been commissioned, together with the Chinese planning institute Qinghua and the Arup consultancy from the UK, to carry out a prestigious coastal and urban development project in China. The coastal city is to be built on an area of 150 km² and will soon have to provide space for one million inhabitants. DHV won the assignment by including in its concept for the area an island and lagoon structure remniscent of the Dutch Wadden Sea.

Apr 25th, 2008

• Sustainable urban development evokes the Dutch Wadden Sea

AMERSFOORT, Netherlands, April 22, 2008 -- The engineering consultancy DHV has been commissioned, together with the Chinese planning institute Qinghua and the Arup consultancy from the UK, to carry out a prestigious coastal and urban development project in China. The coastal city is to be built on an area of 150 km² and will soon have to provide space for one million inhabitants. DHV won the assignment by including in its concept for the area an island and lagoon structure, which reminds one of the Dutch Wadden Sea. The concept allows for the creation of fresh groundwater in a sustainable manner for use in the city's green spaces. The international jury, consisting of experts from Italy, Sweden, and China, complimented the proposal for the way it combined coastal development, energy, water, and transport into an attractive urban design.

The new coastal city will be built in Caofeidian, an industrial zone in North China on the Bohai Sea. "Caofeidian has to become the model for China and the rest of the world of a Chinese ecological coastal city," says Dick Kevelam, DHV's advisor on coastal development. Because of the coastal location in a salt-water area, and because of the limited rainfall in the north of China, there is little fresh water available for the future inhabitants. "One of this project's challenges is to capture and recycle fresh water in as a sustainable manner as possible," according to Mr Kevelam. "There is a lot of talk about 'sustainable urban planning' in our business, and DHV has the expertise to actually bring it about in challenging projects."

At high tide, the outer islands off the coast form a sea defense wall that offers flood protection for the lagoon, which is located behind. The city is to be built on islands in the lagoon. The islands will be raised a number of meters above the salt water, by drawing sand from the lagoon. The lagoon design will restore part of the original tidal mud-flat coast in this area and will save those areas that still exist. "In this case we're not creating land in the sea, rather we're returning water to the land in a controlled manner, thus re-creating a natural dynamic," as Mr Kevelam puts it. In order to adapt the Dutch know-how as much as possible to China, DHV is working very closely on the project with its colleagues in Shanghai.

In early 2009, the city's construction will begin next to an industrial port comparable in size to that of the Port of Rotterdam. The port, which is being further developed very rapidly, is today partly operational. The Caofeidian New Coastal City is the second large coastal project that DHV has designed for China recently. In the other case, the Chinese were enthusiastic about the "Delta Diamonds", a 75 km² polder land-reclamation project for the urban, economic, and ecological development of Tianjin, China's largest import harbor. This project is currently underway.

DHV is a leading international consultancy and engineering firm, providing services and innovative solutions in Transportation, Building & Manufacturing, Spatial Planning & Environment and Water.

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