Shenzhen, China




1800 ha


Invited International Competition


Assignment completed


Dapeng City Government, Shenzhen City Government


Martin Arfalk, Patrick Verhoeven, Cyril Pavlu, Shan Jiang, Leslie Norris, Manon Otto, Mariada Stamouli, Emilia Puotinen


Gossamer, Arcadis

Submarina (visualisations)

Resilient masterplan for one of Shenzhen’s last natural coastlines focused on typhoon-resistant ecological restoration, environmental protection, and genuine cultural and landscape experiences.

Xichong Coastal Reserve

Xichong Coastal Reserve, located at the doorstep of Shenzhen, is with its 18 square kilometers of the largest nature parks with remaining natural coastlines in south-eastern China. In late 2018, Typhoon Manghut devastated southern China, causing unprecedented damage. Since then, multiple reconstruction projects are underway. Despite increased typhoon severity, most popular beach destinations have approved new high-density mega-developments along their beachfronts. Mandaworks, teamed up with Gossamer and Arcadis, to propose a different approach. One that prioritizes typhoon resistant ecological restoration and the celebration of local landscape character and culture.


Xichong Coastal Reserve proposal is driven by “landscape first” approach, creating a robust landscape framework that allows for a rational development strategy without damaging the area’s environmental capacity and ability to protect against extreme weather. The strategies for infrastructure, urban design, architecture, engineering as well as tourism programming are rooted in the local landscape, prioritizing environmentally-driven solutions. The project restores natural water flow, reconnecting lost rivers and rebuilding wetlands and coastal mangroves. This then provided a range of tourist experiences from boardwalks, kayaking routes, bird-hides and floating markets, while new flood-proof residencies responds to the natural river system. 


The project’s coastal defence strategy integrates innovative flood and typhoon mitigation innovations with landscape and architecture. Coastal dune systems, previously destroyed by typhoons and overdevelopment, are restored completely to their natural condition. A new dike, hybridising modern engineering and natural coastal landscapes is both a memorable experience and protection against flood and high seas. Cafes, restaurants, and changing rooms are built within the dunes , connecting with sheltered beach walks, camping areas and nature playgrounds.


The expansion of the existing villages follows the conditions of the surrounding landscapes and enhances its character to create diverse town typologies. Complementing the towns, small boutique accommodations and small architectural interventions are scattered in the forests, mountains, farmlands, and rivers, inviting people closer to Xichong’s landscape and nature.

Xichong Coastal Reserve 

The masterplan prioritizes typhoon resistant ecological restoration and the celebration of local character. The restoration of lost rivers and rebuilding of wetlands and coastal mangroves create resilient landscape system as well as unique tourist experience.

P01-158 International Consulting on the

Hybrid coastal defence

Two new dike systems, the ring dike and dune dike, combined with revegetated natural coastal landscapes provide a hybridised natural response to extreme weather.

P01-158 International Consulting on the

The resilient beachfront during a typhoon 

The project’s coastal defense strategy integrates innovative flood and typhoon mitigation innovations with landscape and architecture

Typhoon protection

Four major coastal defense strategies: Dune dike, Ring Dike, Mangroves and Wetlands. 

Revitalised coastal mangrove forest

Revitalised fishponds and wetlands

Dune dike and mixed coastal forest

Ring dike and inundation zone

Vibrant public spine

The arrival point in the area is connected to vibrant pedestrian spine that connects the mountains, Hesou village and the beach.

From the mountains to the sea

The various landscapes of Xichong Coastal Reserve include mountain peaks, rivers, wetlands, coastal forests, vegetated beach dunes and farmlands. Visitors can experience the diverse nature on foot, bicycles or take the gondola to the mountain hikes.

Landscape Framework

Xichong Coastal Reserve adopts a progressive ‘landscape first’ philosophy and the project’s transport, urban design, architecture, engineering and tourism strategies prioritise environmentally driven solutions to a wide range of issues. The majority of urban expansion is focused around four existing villages that are then aligned to the surrounding landscape conditions. 

Villages blending in the nature

Hesou Town, the largest of the villages is upgraded and a central civic street is designed to bring people from the mountains all the way to the beach.

Unique landscape experiences

The proposal is built on the local landscape qualities and transforms them into more than 10 unique landscape tourism experiences focused around the new naturalised beach, local aquaculture, agrotourism and Xichong’s hinterland.

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