EADG creates vision for Xiang River Delta Islands in China


Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province. The Xiang River is the largest river in Hunan and one of the largest tributaries of the Yangtze River. It bisects the city into the older eastern area and the newly developing western area. Within the river corridor are several large islands formed over time from sand shoal deposits.


The Changsha Planning Bureau commissioned an international design competition from March to July 2014 to advise on the best future positioning, land use, design and management of the fifteen of the main river islands located within or just beyond the existing urban area, spanning some 80 kilometers of the river. The five invited design companies included both internationally recognized firms as well as local practices.


Following fieldwork and research and the identification of existing problems, EADG developed a three part approach;

  • Positioning the river and islands as a linked eco vein – connecting ecology, celebrating local culture and activating the river corridor economy
  • Identifying three simple sequential steps of ‘protect, cluster and activate’
  • Arranging the islands in like clusters or ‘archipelagos’ that reflected local conditions, aspiration and


Given the broad scale of the river corridor and islands a direct simple planning and design model was used that involved:

  • A motto of ‘big river, slow life’ with deliberate interventions to prevent future vehicle access and to promote activities and facilities that encouraged learning, relaxing and immersion in the varying island landscapes
  • Identification of key program nodes for each cluster of islands as well as individual islands
  • Focus on the varied user experience for each location as a driver to the design solutions


The client encouraged peer review by local design institutes, experts and community representatives during the course of the competition, culminating in a joint open forum at the Hunan University where all participants shared not only their specific design solutions to this project but also their views and key experience on other projects globally.
EADG’s concept is significant as it carefully balances long term ecological protection and enhancement with a responsive participation program. It positons a slow lifestyle ecological ‘vein’ at the heart of a major capital city.


Xiang River Delta Islands Strategy | Changsha, China | EADG

Image & Text | EADG

About Damian Holmes 3288 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/