Bei Da Hu Regional Plan

Creating a road map for a region’s long-term growth and resilience by balancing social, economic and environmental needs.

Bei Da Hu Regional Plan Creating a road map for a region’s long-term growth and resilience by balancing social, economic and environmental needs.
  • Location

    Jilin Province, China
    Asia Pacific

  • Size

    2,600 hectares

  • Services

    Master Planning

The challenge

Leveraging a Popular Ski Resort as Catalyst for Regional Development

Anticipating the long-term growth and expansion of the area around the existing 680-hectare Bei Da Hu ski resort, a four-season mountain resort that is being developed to accommodate international sporting events, the client’s challenge to WATG was to create a visionary master plan for the overall 2,600-hectare Bei Da Hu valley. The plan would foresee the valley’s long-term tourism, urban and agricultural potential, creating diversified tourist developments while retaining local villages, farmland, and landscape character as much as possible.

Bei Da Hu Regional Plan Creating a road map for a region’s long-term growth and resilience by balancing social, economic and environmental needs.

The Design Strategy

Strengthening Public and Private Partnerships for Long-Term Stability

Key to the development’s success would be a strategic partnership between the private developer and the regional government of China’s Jilin Province. Building long-term relationships with both entities, WATG set out to provide a road map for the development of a strong infrastructure base that would support a growing tourism industry, leading to jobs and economic stability. From the outset, the key strategies included:

  • Economic diversification for the Bei Da Hu region
  • Strengthened infrastructure and transportation systems
  • Model residential communities
  • Education and skill improvement for farmers and young workforce
  • Creation of jobs and business opportunities
  • Integration of farming and tertiary industries

The underlying strategy within WATG’s master plan was creating a balance between development and rural areas, catering to regional and international tourists, while recognizing the farming communities’ economic, social, and cultural needs through integration instead of alienation.

Six distinct yet integrated functional zones were planned for phased implementation as the core ski area expands over the coming years.

  1. An outdoor sports and resort zone comprises a world-class mixed-use base village including lodging and residences, a retirement village, a ski union village, a training center, leisure park (and a media center) – all of which are immediately adjacent to numerous ski runs and lifts. Amenities such as a supermarket and other retail shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as other resort infrastructure, have also been integrated into this zone’s plan, positioning the destination as a viable site for future national and international winter sporting events.
  2. On the other side of the valley, WATG’s master plan for Bei Da Hu support town transforms a typical small agricultural town with outdated facilities into a distinctively modern and sustainable model town that caters to its own needs, as well as to those of the relocated farmers from the greater valley. The town also provides a labor force, public facilities, and infrastructure in support of the broader region’s ski and sport tourism industry, as well as the ongoing agricultural economy
  3. Bei Da Hu new town will be the main urban resort growth center for the region and plans for integrated land use, including residential, commercial, and additional tourism facilities such as hotels, retail, entertainment venues, hospitals, schools, sports facilities, community centers, transit, and other infrastructure.
  4. The hot spring well-being zone includes a hotel and conference center with hot springs, yoga villages, and fitness centers, as well as a community center, a healing and retirement center, medical facilities, and vacation villas.
  5. As an extension of the surrounding villages, the cultural zone anticipates plans to develop art and music and integrates venues for multiple forms of entertainment including a cultural theme park, a sculpture park, and a performance art center.
  6. The agri-exhibition zone visualizes and embraces agriculture – including a research and technology facility, renewable and alternative energy center, urban farming education center, community farms, an open-air museum, and an array of connective programming such as seasonal events, markets, and farm-to-table concept incubators.

With long-term resilience and sustainability at its core, development parcels are intentionally spread out and relatively dense, retaining as much surrounding farmland, streams, and open areas as possible. The farming community is encouraged to remain on their land where possible. And space for urban farming is provided where relocation to the Support Town or other residential areas is required. The project also encourages incremental development of tertiary industries to improve the economy, elevate living conditions and provide training, business, and job opportunities in the town and tourism facilities.

The result

Building a Solid and Stable Foundation for Long-Term Growth

The master plan understands and highlights tourism development while retaining regional characteristics to create a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable solution for both the private developer and the regional government. The integrated towns, villages, and recreational and agricultural areas are planned and designed to cater to their own basic needs while providing a labor force, public facilities, and infrastructure support to the valley and wider Jilin Province tourism industry.

Bei Da Hu New Town Development WATG Six Functional Zone Regional Map

The plan creates diverse and dynamic tourism and town communities with a variety of new industries, experimental housing typologies, urban farming opportunities plus essential amenities and activities. Key typologies and land use distribution patterns can be replicated and implemented in similar settings.

The master plan responds to the nationwide effort to modernize agriculture while creating an efficient network of downstream and allied industries. The success of this master plan is marked simply by the government’s approval of the project, as it now moves forward with implementation.

This master plan has led to strong, long-term relationships working hand-in-hand with private developers and public government entities, and to multiple projects for WATG within the Bei Da Hu region, including additional master plans for the Bei Da Hu Ski Resort and Bei Da Hu Support Town. WATG has also provided integrated services for additional projects including architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture for several resort hotels and “ski halls”, the core building at each ski resort, which houses extensive ski rental, equipment storage, and servicing facilities.

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