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Tangshan Nanhu Eco-city Central Park

Landscape Performance Benefits


  • Sequesters an estimated 2,800 metric tons (6.2 million lbs) of CO2 annually in the trees of the park, equivalent to removing 550 passenger vehicles from the road each year.
  • Provides habitats for 6 fish, 4 reptile, 3 amphibian, 2 mammal, and 81 bird species observed on the site. Of these, 7 are nationally-protected wildlife species.
  • Reduces potable water consumption by 29,200,000 cubic meters (7.7 billion gallons) annually, equivalent to 11,680 Olympic-sized swimming pools, by importing reclaimed water from a nearby sewage treatment plant. The reclaimed water is further treated in a series of constructed wetlands and used for water body recharge and irrigation in the park, saving about $15.4 million per year.


  • Provides park access for the 10,000 nearby residents within a 15 minute walking distance.


  • Saved $47.2 million in material costs by reusing 6 million cubic meters of coal ash to produce foundations and bricks used in park construction.
  • Saved $369,000 in construction costs by recycling 133,820 trunks of dead trees to form an embankment structure to prevent erosion along the lakeshore.
  • Generates $157,300 in annual revenue from recreational and facility rental fees.

At a Glance

  • Designer

    Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute (THUPDI)

  • Project Type

    Nature preserve
    Park/Open space
    Wetland creation/restoration

  • Former Land Use


  • Location

    Tangxu Road, Lunan
    Tangshan, Hebei, 063000, China
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  • Climate Zone

    Humid continental

  • Size

    1,557 acres

  • Budget


  • Completion Date


Tangshan Nanhu Central Park is a mine reclamation project, which is now the largest urban central park in northeastern China. Located in the center of Tangshan City, the former 1,557-acre wasteland is now a dynamic public space, featuring recreational facilities, conservation areas and more than 600,000 trees and shrubs. The former coal mining site was heavily polluted and damaged after a massive 1976 earthquake. Parts of the site had collapsed and settled unevenly, creating a patchwork of unstable surfaces which eventually grew to 28 sq km. The site became a safety hazard and was used largely as a city landfill and a sewage lagoon. In 2008, the reclamation project began. Using sustainable practices such as material reuse, stormwater management, and wildlife habitat restoration, the project has fundamentally improved the environmental quality of Tangshan City and created a major new public recreational space, accessible to more than 10,000 residents within a 15 minute walk.


The site was an extremely large brownfield, full of contaminated waste and sewage, as well as areas of geological subsidence. Notably, the entire southern portion of the site lacked geotechnical stability. One of the key design challenges was to address the settling land and determine a way to use this part of the site in a viable way which would complement the rest of the park.


The design responded to the site’s varying environmental conditions by proposing very different uses and aesthetic characters north and south of the main dividing road. North of Tangxu Road, the park is geologically stable and thus designed for active recreational uses, with features including gardens, the reclaimed rubbish hill, plazas and trails. The area south of Tangxu Road is designed to be a natural reserve, retaining its natural vegetation and landform with few interventions. This part of the park includes cedar grasslands, wetlands and other landscapes native to the region. The settling land and shorelines within this area were stabilized primarily with materials found onsite, such as rocks and wood posts made from dead trees.

  • More than 620,000 trees and shrubs of about 100 species are planted in the park, creating various wildlife habitats including woodland, bosque, grassland, and wetland.
  • 450 metric tons of rubbish in Nanhu area were reclaimed and used to create a 50-meter high hill, offering 130,000 square meters of green space. The hill was sealed, covered by soil and planted with trees. It provides scenic views, and various recreational opportunities, such as walking, hiking and picnicking. A waste gas collection system in the rubbish hill collects and burns the gas generated by the rubbish, preventing it from being emitted into atmosphere.
  • Two lakes, as well as a series of smaller water features, offer scenic and recreational value. These lakes fill former subsidence basins and are recharged without potable water. The south lake receives about 80,000 cubic meters of reclaimed water daily, after it is discharged by a water treatment plant into a series of constructed wetlands. The north lake is recharged by 20,000 cubic meters of groundwater, which is obtained daily from the coal mining site to the north of the park. The two lakes are the water source for landscape irrigation.
  • Boat docks and extensive boardwalks along the lakeshores bring people to the water.

  • Islands in the center of each lake are constructed with reclaimed coal ash, as is the scenic peninsula on the north side of the southern lake.
  • An embankment made of gabions and the bundled trunks and branches of 133,820 dead trees stabilizes the lakeshore.
  • Recreational spaces within the park include the hill, a central island, botanical garden and main plaza.
  • The park’s lakes need to be recharged regularly to maintain the water level. Reclaimed water from a nearby waste water treatment plant is used to do this, supplying 29.2 million cubic meters (7.7 billion gallons) annually. If an equivalent amount of potable water were used instead, the cost would be $15.4 million per year.
  • About 6 million cubic meters of coal ash from the site was reused to form foundations and make bricks used in park construction. If coal ash had not been reused, earth would have been purchased instead, which would have cost about $47.2 million.
  • The trunks of 133,820 dead trees were used to form an embankment structure along the lakeshore to prevent shoreline erosion. If an equivalent amount of timber had to be purchased, the cost would be $369,000.
  • Dormant willow posts (large willow cuttings) were installed along the lakeshore in order to stabilize the banks, The following spring, the willow posts sprouted as expected, indicating that the method was successful. In the long-run, the willows will not only stabilize the banks, but will also provide shade and habitat.

Project Team

Client: Tangshan Nanhu Eco-city Management Committee
Landscape Planner and Designer: Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute
Cooperator: Tangshan Urban and Rural Planning Bureau

Role of the Landscape Architect

As the leaders of the design team, landscape architects played a key role in design and planning and organized team members to form an efficient working group. The team included experts in geology, civil engineering, ecology, horticulture, hydrology, architecture, and municipal planning.


Water conservation, Populations & species richness, Carbon sequestration & avoidance, Reused/recycled materials, Recreational & social value, Operations & maintenance savings, Other economic, Blackwater treatment, Reused/recycled materials, Trees, Wetland, Placemaking, Restoration

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