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Guangming New Town will be a low-carbon city and is currently looking for an integrated and sustainable transformation of the district. New New Towns will organize two design workshops with Chinese and Dutch professionals to rethink contemporary planning concepts, based on the potential of the existing landscape, population and industry. The first workshop took place in January 2013 and centered on the Gateway Area.

Both design workshops are a collaboration of the Shenzhen Center for Design, the City of Almere and the local government of Guangming New Town.

Current conditions

Guangming New Town is located in the northwest of Shenzhen in Bao’an district. The total planned area of the New Town occupies 156.1 km², among which 72.33 km² is designated for urbanization (46.33% of the total area). The other 83.77 km² is within the official Basic Ecological Control Line (2005). Guangming New Town is surrounded by a green hilly landscape, while the Maozhou River runs through the area. It currently has a population of about 1 million people, out of which only 42.000 people are officially registered as residents of the district (people with Hukou). Guangming district is known for its emigrants’ community. Its population mainly consists of fugitive emigrants coming back from abroad.

Guangming New Town’s main economic form is collective-owned industries for processing and manufacturing. The added value of its agricultural production is considered low and its tertiary industry is underdeveloped. The GDP of Guangming district only makes a small portion of the GDP of Shenzhen municipality (2.88% in 2010). However, its economy is growing fast due to the development of new industrial sectors.

Guangming New Town is strategically located along the “urban and high-tech industrial development axis” of Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express train stops at Guangming New Town, which makes Guangzhou and Hong Kong accessible within 1 hour. The southern boundary of the new town is adjacent to the greater outer ring of Shenzhen city. Shenzhen city center can be reached in about half an hour by car and by public transport.

Planning goals

Guangming New Town wants to become a low-carbon city. The new town wants to strengthen its service function towards Hong Kong by creating an environment for innovative technological and research companies, developing a high quality living environment and high quality public facilities, and exploring tourism industry. It aims to use the opportunity of the urbanization process in the northern part of Shenzhen to guide the transformation of its industrial sectors and use the settling of new employments to upgrade the quality of urban life. The intended new industries are low-carbon and high-efficient.

In terms of the deployment of economic sectors, the New Town is divided into three zones. From east to west, these zones are defined as ecological industry development zone, high-tech industry development zone and traditional industry development zone. The ecological zone is suitable for agriculture activities and eco-friendly tourism. The high-tech zone is planned to accommodate companies specialized in flat panel display equipment, new energies, as well as headquarters of small to medium-sized businesses. The traditional zone has been filled with a number of existing manufacturing factories. The main goal is to upgrade them to more advanced modern manufacturing types of industry. Spatially, the strategies to develop a low-carbon city include a convenient network of public transport and a slow-traffic system, compact and transport-oriented development (TOD) in station areas, introducing greenery from the ecological zone and surroundings by green wedges. It is also planned to adopt a series of green technologies integrated with urban development, such as the use of recycled energies and waste- and rainwater, green building technologies and reducing emissions.

Gateway Area

The area around Guangming station is called the Gateway Area and is the first development of the new town. It occupies an area of about 340 hectares. The Gateway Area is located at the southern boundary of the new town, in the high-tech industry development zone. In the Guangming New Town master plan, this area is intended for high-density compact urban development that could bring a new identity to the new town.

Spatial Development Control Plan. How much of the existing landscape, population and industry will be integrated in the new developments?

Current situation Guangming New Town with an urban village to the left and a temporary farming district in the middle.

Urban farming underneath the elevated high speed rail.