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Shanghai Houtan Park

Shanghai, China

Shanghai Houtan Park Wetland

Houtan Park in Shanghai, China, photo credit: Tourenscape

The 34.5 acres of land Shanghai Houtan Park now occupies is a former brownfield, previously owned by a steel factory and shipyard that left the environment of the site severely degraded. Used as a landfill, construction and industrial debris were scattered and buried throughout the site. The Huangpu riverfront, where the park is located, was highly polluted, making it unsafe for any kind of recreation and devoid of aquatic life. 
The objective of the former brownfield’s design was to create a green space for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo that demonstrated impactful green technologies. The park went on to become a permanent public space and attraction, winning the ASLA Award of Excellence for General Design. The overall design of the park is inspired by the fields of Chinese agriculture.
A wetland was constructed with various plant species in mind to treat and absorb contaminated and polluted water from the Huangpu River. Aside from being the water’s healer, the wetland acts as a flood protection buffer between flood control levees. The park’s former concrete floodwall was replaced with a habitat-friendly riprap that allows native species to grow by the riverbank and protect the shoreline from erosion.