Qianhai Railway Park: Connecting the Past to the Future 

The Qianhai Railway Park is located within the ambitious Qianhai New City development in Shenzhen, China. It is comprised of 6 plots including community park and streetscapes with a total site area of 7.3 hectares.

As one of the pilot public spaces (Unit 19) of Mawan District in Qianhai, the project is situated at a ‘crossroad’ where the old railway line meets the new urban green corridor. The juxtaposition of these two important alignments has created a strong design narrative between the historic past routes and the symbolic future of Qianhai.

The old Pingnan railway was opened for operation in 1993, one of the earliest non-state-owned railways in P.R. China. Over its 24 years in service Pingnan railway played a significant role in Shenzhen as a commuter and goods gateway between the inland provinces and the old port. As the city’s infrastructure rapidly developed, the utilization of this ‘old-style’ railway line decreased, and in 2017, certain sections of the railway had to be terminated and demolished to give way to Qianhai’s development.

However, the original alignment of the railway has been retained as part of the public open space system within the new Qianhai masterplan as a reference of the historic heritage, and our design has reinstated the tracks as a tangible link to the past, recreated following the original coordinates as a place-making ‘spine’ to reinforce a meaningful connection with its historic past, symbolically aligned over the new metro network.

A new urban green corridor will run almost perpendicular to the old railway track, connecting Qianhai Bay to the north and the Dananshan mountain to the south, both visually and physically. This strong symbolic connection, linking the mountains to the sea, resonates deeply with Chinese culture.

The design creates a walkable urban realm and inclusive public open spaces, bringing together the surrounding mixed-use developments, creating a vibrant context for new commercial and residential communities and linking to a new bus terminal and the metro stations. The design draws inspiration from the City’s historic roots as a trading gateway to China, and Qianhai’s future aspirations as a leading international hub city attracting people from all around the world to live and work here.

Creating new public spaces that draw upon Qianhai’s relatively short, but meaningful history has become a key narrative for the development, expressing a strong new identity with echoes of the past. We believe that Qianhai Railway Park will be memorable as a new urban space while ensuring that the legacy of the past is honoured.

The project’s conceptual design was started in 2019 with a plan to commence construction on site in 2023 and be completed by 2025.

Qianhai Railway Park: Connecting the Past to the Future 

Project Name: Qianhai Railway Park


Cracknell Landscape Design L.L.C

SED Landscape Architects Ltd.

Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (Shenzhen)

ClientShenzhen Qianhai Construction & Investment Holding Group Co., Ltd.

Image Credits:

Cracknell Landscape Design L.L.C

SED Landscape Architects Ltd.

Beijing Institute of Architectural Design(Shenzhen)

About Terren Shi 116 Articles
Terren is an emerging graduate landscape architect with a passion for design theory and history. She holds a Bachelor of Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Melbourne, which she completed in 2020 and 2022 respectively. Currently, Terren works as a sessional tutor at the Melbourne School of Design. She also contributes interviews and essays on landscape architecture and design.