As of 2007, Wujiang, an industrial city located between Shanghai and Suzhou, was home to a population of approximately 1,500,000 people. Long known as a beautiful riverside city in the Jiangnan region, running along the southern side of the Yangtze Basin, Wujiang is situated in an area dotted with lakes centering on the Da Yunhe (Grand Canal), which connects the Yangtze with Shanghai and Beijing. Though traditionally the main form of transportation was aquatic, with regional development, automotive traffic has now come to be dominant.
The city stands on the famous Lake Taihu. As the lake is currently only used for fish farming, the municipal government hopes to return the Taihu to its original form through reclamation and maintenance of its banks, and to transform Wujiang from a riverside city serving as a base of production and distribution reliant on the canals and the Yangtze, to a lakeside city that can accommodate tourism and tertiary industries. Our plan for the new city was based on this strategy.
As Wujiang lies some distance from the metropolis of Shanghai, our proposal for the future form of the city, which deals primarily with the production of electronic machinery, calls for better use of the area’s regional features. Although the city is about an hour away from Shanghai, it lies on the historically significant Lake Taihu, so we hope to encourage Shanghai-based companies to transfer their development divisions to this more pleasant environment. With this in mind, we conceived of a Research Park that would include a residential area for workers. Our proposal, impossible to realize in Shanghai, also calls for an environmentally-sound living area which, with water and trees, makes the best of the lake, the introduction of a local railway system that would provide an alternative means of transport and lessen reliance on cars, as well as a green zone that would link the business district and the lake in a new way.
Prior to this phase of the project, we proposed that a Taihu Museum of Natural History and Aquarium and a high-rise hotel be built within the lake. This area would be linked by bridge to a lakeside park, and a deck on the lake would serve as a waterfront plaza between the two spaces. This site, designed for the enjoyment of the urban environment, symbolizes the hope of Taihu, which stands beyond a line of illuminated fountains measuring 700 meters in width that will be activated at predetermined times.