Luokou District Urban Framework
The Luokou District comprises 3.3 square kilometers at the northern edge of the developed city. We had the opportunity and challenge to develop an alternative plan to one that has been prepared by the local authority, which may be characterized as having very large blocks, large streets, and large slab buildings.
Making use of data gathered by the UC Berkeley Global Metro Studies Team this last summer as part of the Energy Foundation’s China Sustainable Cities Initiative, we wanted to see if we could do better than what has been proposed. The urban structure framework plan that we prepared explores the possibilities of smaller blocks, pedestrian-friendly streets, green infrastructure, transit-oriented development around BRT lines, adapting Chinese solar codes to making perimeter block development, and the re-housing of existing residents (factory workers, metal gathers and recyclers, and farmers — up to 30,000 of them) within the larger anticipated population of 130,000.
An initial plan submitted by a Hong Kong developer for the site was rejected by the Planning Bureau because it lacked green space. The plan was also characterized by very large blocks, unnecessarily wide streets, monotonous slab buildings and a lack of pedestrian spaces. In collaboration with the University of California Global Metro Studies Initiative, a new proposal was developed, with a focus of a pedestrian-oriented public realm, transit-oriented neighborhoods, and sustainable building technologies.
The new proposed plan makes bold moves with its open space framework. A large urban park network unites the site, providing needed recreation opportunities for the new residences, ecological connections for plant and animal species, and stormwater treatment and space for flood abatement. The plan also calls for the development of a robust Bus Rapid Transit system, providing both internal circulation and connections to the central business district 10 miles away.