Winning masterplan will turn central
Shenzhen into "Garden City of Tomorrow"


News: international firm SWA Group has been selected to redesign Futian District in Shenzhen, China - an area that's larger than Manhattan (+ slideshow).

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

Above: raised walkways and gardens are proposed for Futian District

Landscape architecture and urban planning firm SWA Group hopes to transform the congested and car-dominated district of central Shenzhen into a calmer, greener space where pedestrians are welcome.

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

As part of SWA's masterplan, titled Garden City of Tomorrow, residential streets will be made over with exercise areas for all age groups as well as quieter green spaces.

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

Office streets will incorporate gardens with seating areas, while retail streets will encourage pedestrian traffic with public art and better lighting.

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

A botanical garden in the shape of a circuit board, representing the Chinese city's electronics industry, has been proposed for a space alongside the Civic Center.

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

Three existing parks divided by major roads will be linked by a raised landscape of walkways, cycle paths and gardens called the Bridge Park.

Futian District masterplan by SWA Group

Above: a botanical garden has been proposed alongside Shenzhen Civic Center

"Our landscape and urban design strategies will rebalance Futian from a car-dominated city with a challenging street system to offer a more beautiful, more functional environment, from landscaped boulevards and greenspaces to plazas and large gathering spaces," said Sean O'Malley, the principal leading the masterplan from SWA Group's office in Laguna Beach, California.

The first phase of construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2013, with completion by autumn 2014.

Futian is home to the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, where we made a series of movies in 2009, including one about a project to build a farm in a city square and another looking at an installation of 10,000 garments manufactured in Shenzhen.

Other projects in Shenzhen we've featured recently include a registry office that looks like its covered in confetti and the Kingkey 100 skyscraper, the tallest building in the city.

See all our stories about Shenzhen »
See all our stories about masterplans »

  • Leanne

    Designed to look like circuit board? I don’t get it. The only people who would approve that idea are the power-hungry people who have had their ego boosted. Think of others and future generations. That’s a legacy: doing good and creating beautiful areas for future generations. Not giant concrete walkways, unnatural fountains and trees contained within concrete squares. Where will the water go? I see flooding. I am sure nature will thank us for that landscaping vision of beauty. When will we learn to design and work with nature, to create a building/landscape that has longevity? Positives from this are the botanical garden, trees and social areas.

  • internautas

    Why is this on Dezeen?

  • chinacritique

    I like the idea of breaking up the large existing square in front of the Shenzhen Civic Center – at the moment it’s a hot concrete plaza. The circuit board idea has little imagination – yes it’s the home of Foxconn but I’d prefer something a bit more inspirational to match the building.

    Also, the design needs more programming – this city has a one of the youngest populations and workforces in China.

    As for the renders they are a little weird and off-putting – when did Shenzhen China become an American city with so many Caucasians walking around?

  • philip

    Wrong in every sense.

  • shenzhener

    Too rubbish to comment.

  • Ah hah!!!

    Needs to be BIGGER!!! #sarcasm

  • Xabier


  • Gunter

    It’s already a step forward, but I still see the dominating decorative aspect of greenery and pathways along the highways. I wish nature could again be much more wild, untamed and not need to flow along the infrastructure but the other way round. But maybe this comes in Version 2?

  • Derek

    Where’s light rail transit? Why aren’t those ugly roads buried? All that space, wasted by eight-lane roads.

  • From my experience in China, the winning masterplan will change dramatically. Often in landscape design they don’t pay attention to many things like safety and comfort for pedestrians. Oh and they really love fountains and ponds, but they often forget the drainage and they don’t know how to keep it clean. Also a problem is water dehydration in China, they don’t consider it. That’s why you often see ponds without water, dirty water canals, fountains without water etc. Often what they want is not realistic in their situation. The renderings are a dream picture, like all the menu cards in the restaurants! You will not get what you ordered!

  • James Lunday

    Overindulgence with every graphic trick pulled out. Immature, lacking in sense of place and joy. Anarchy.