Huanggang Port, Image from Zaha Hadid Architects
> “In 2018, an estimated 55.3 per cent of the world’s population lived in urban settlements. By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 per cent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.” – UN, 2018
In a rapidly urbanising world, how are cities evolving to meet the present and future needs of their citizens? How are different urban regeneration projects unfolding? This week we look at three urban regeneration initiatives from around the world.
1. Huanggang Port, Shenzhen, China
This important border crossing connecting Shenzhen to Hong Kong is undergoing a radical transformation as designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The main goal is to create a scientific innovation hub in collaboration with industry with proposed centres including microelectronics, material development, artificial intelligence, robotics and medical sciences.
The total development comprises three interconnected districts; the other two being a “port hub” and a “port living” area. The designs use Shenzhen’s existing street layout and centres on two large public plazas. Along Shenzhen river, a greenbelt of parks and wetlands will be created. Each of the three zones will have communal outdoor space and the “living” area will include schools, sports and recreation facilities as well as restaurants for those working in the science park.
2. Kibera Public Space Project, Nairobi, Kenya
A very different project, and a finalist in the Ksh.27M Climate/Equity Prize is Kibera’s people-centred community development. This prize is awarded to cities whose initiatives simultaneously address inequality and climate change.
Co-creating spaces with residents in one of the world’s largest slums, the projects co-ordinated by Kounkuey Design Initiative support local businesses, improve existing infrastructure (such as street drainage), and provide water and sanitation services - all through the transformation of public space. So far, Kounkuey Design Initiative has created 11 public spaces which restore natural riverbank and address sewage overflow. This is essential in an area where up to 40% of homes in the neighbourhood regularly experience flooding.
3. Split, Croatia
Croatia’s second-largest city and UNESCO world heritage site, Split is undergoing a strategic regeneration, inspired by successful projects in Barcelona, Copenhagen and London (https://www.ebrd.com/news/2020/how-split-will-become-the-new-barcelona.html). The projects in question revitalised disused rail and maritime sites and created vibrant new mixed-used districts. Focusing therefore on the port area and the Kopilica district, the city hopes to enlarge the city centre and transform Kopilica with residential and working space, cultural venues and a university.
Split has become the first Croatian city to join the European Green Cities programme. Regeneration therefore also focuses on waste disposal, water supply, sustainable transport, renewable energy and reforestation of neglected green areas. The building of a water purification plant is one of the first items on the agenda.