Growing with the Flow

Isabell CHING

This project integrates a constructed wetland belt with open spaces and programmes as a regenerative landscape system that purifies polluted stormwater and reconnects locals’ lives with the rural landscape through new activities. The project converts Pui O’s existing brownfields, cultivates indigenous wetland species, transforming them into an organic stormwater treatment infrastructure that becomes mutually beneficial to the life of locals and regenerates natural habitat.

With centuries-old village settlements, Pui O in South Lantau is rich in biodiversity and listed as SSSI. With Hong Kong’s modernization and urbanization human activities keep invading the natural wetlands and releasing wastewater into stormwater drainage and the problem of stormwater pollution has not been tackled. Existing problems are transformed into regenerative design in three aspects:

Architecturally, the new planning reconnects the villages and landscape across the South Lantau Road by regenerating all existing brownfields along the road into constructed wetlands. Ecologically, the new constructed wetland infrastructure treats the contaminated runoff collected from village stormwater drainage, using the wetland plants to purify the water by natural processes before returning it to the surrounding habitat. The treated water can be used for irrigation while the range of filtering plants become by-products for fertilizers and raw materials for craftsmanship workshops. Socially, new public spaces and programmes reactivate both sides of South Lantau road and provide platforms for both village and eco-tourism activities, including four main zones: 1) car parking: Lotus Garden, 2) inter-generation playspace: Aquatic Plant Garden, 3) craft and camping experience GardenPLUS, and 4) nodes of village open space: Reed Garden. The proposals all came from intensive engagement with villagers and local stakeholders, so that landscape-related activities build on emerging practices, further benefitting the local economy and community bonding.

The whole cycle generates socio-economic benefits for locals, new opportunities for visitors and demonstrates a mutually assisting development strategy for rural development by integrating productive wetlandscape with public amenities and open spaces.

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