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Xuhui Runway Park

Landscape Performance Benefits


  • Decreases stormwater runoff depth for surface precipitation by an estimated 81% (from 2 in to 0.4 in) for a 1-hour, 10-year storm event.
  • Saves an estimated 1.04 million gallons of potable water and $3,200 annually by reusing stormwater runoff for irrigation and the park fountains.
  • Provides habitat for at least 9 observed bird species within a high-density urban environment.
  • Saves an estimated 167,000 kWh and $15,800 annually by using LED lights instead of standard metal halide lighting.
  • Contributes a net carbon sink of an estimated 488,039 kilograms of carbon per year in trees and other vegetation, which would have an estimated value of $105,560 if a carbon tax was implemented.
  • Reused approximately 29,000 sf of demolished runway concrete and preserved 50,000 sf of the original runway for the main pedestrian path of the park and the birdwatching grove, saving approximately $47,000 in construction costs.


  • Offers more than 32 types of activities for park users. Walking is the most common type of activity in the park, with 73% of 263 surveyed park users reporting that they often walk in the park. 65% reported that they often drink coffee in the park, while 61% of surveyed users reported that they socialize with family or friends.
  • Supports social interaction, with 81% of 263 surveyed site users reporting that they usually go to the park with their family members, friends, or colleagues.
  • Supports awareness of the site’s aviation history, with 73% of 263 surveyed park users reporting their awareness that the park was transformed from the former Longhua Airport runway.
  • Reduces stress according to 85% of 263 surveyed park users who reported that spending time in the park has a positive effect on stress relief.
  • Improves quality of life according to 81% of 263 surveyed park users.
  • Creates feelings of safety according to 84% of 263 surveyed park users who said they felt relatively or very safe when in the park.
  • Reduces average noise levels from 73.9 decibels on the east side of the park where Yunjin Road is located to 61.0 decibels on the west side of the park, achieving a clearly noticeable reduction and noise buffer from the road.
  • Supports high rates of satisfaction with the park for 84% of 263 surveyed park users.


  • Contributed to a 47% increase in average residential property values within 500 meters of the park from 2019 to 2021. In comparison, increase in average residential property values within 1,000 meters of the park increased by 32% over the same period.
  • Catalyzed a 27% increase in annual growth in average residential sale prices within 500 meters of the park from 2019 to 2021. In comparison, average residential prices within 1,000 meters of the park increased by 11% over the same period.

At a Glance

  • Designer


  • Project Type

    Park/Open space

  • Former Land Use


  • Location

    Yunjing Road
    Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi 200232, China
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  • Climate Zone

    Humid subtropical

  • Size

    36 acres

  • Budget

    $28.5 million USD

  • Completion Date

    April 2020

Xuhui Runway Park is a linear park located along the Xuhui Riverfront in a former industrial zone of Shanghai, China. The site was previously a runway for Longhua Airport, which operated for over 80 years until its closure in 2011. Xuhui Runway Park was created to serve the district’s high-density mixed-use developments, provide a much-needed recreational space for adjacent neighborhoods, and encourage green transportation. To celebrate the site’s aviation history, the park’s design mimics the motion of a runway with an ascending and descending movement, creating diverse linear spaces for vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians within the park and along adjacent Yunjin Road. While all of the spaces are linear in shape, diverse spatial experiences are created by applying different materials, scales, topography, and programs. The park serves as a “runway for modern life” by promoting environmental sustainability and providing a space for recreation and respite from the surrounding city while honoring the site’s past. The park is the first SITES Gold certified project in mainland China.

  • Connect park visitors visually and physically to the site’s aviation history.
  • Facilitate a green commute by connecting people to their destinations with a pleasant place to pass through, providing bicycle infrastructure, and fulfilling “last mile” needs for commuters between transit (the subway) and their individual destinations.
  • Promote active lifestyles by making use of multiple forms of “runway,” including bike and pedestrian pathways, the runway playground, interactive fountains, and multipurpose lawn.
  • Develop a universally accessible place where people at a full range of ability levels share equal opportunity to experience the park.
  • Manage stormwater from Yunjin Road and the park.
  • Create wildlife habitats for both land and marine typologies of flora and fauna, especially species native to Yangtze River Delta.
  • Mitigate urban heat island effect in a dense post-industrial site while mitigating air pollution and noise generated by Yunjin Road.
  • Minimize electricity and water usage within the park.
  • Create additional commercial frontage along the garden perimeters and bring more revenue to the park to support its operation and maintenance costs.
  • Raise property values in the neighborhood.
  • The total project area is approximately 36 acres, comprising the 21-acre park and a 15-acre area of Yunjin Road. The project increased the percentage of green space and permeable sub-bedding surface from 2.53% in the former airport to 41.89%. 
  • 50,160 sf of the historic runway, which was originally 6,000 ft long and 262 ft wide, was retained and restored to serve as the main pedestrian path of the park. 29,278 sf of demolished concrete from the airport was reused for paths and a randomized paving pattern next to the main pedestrian path.
  • Elements that reference the site’s aviation past include LED light poles that recall the form of airplane wings, site furnishings with a profile that recalls aircraft, and multiple aviation-inspired water features including the Runway Fountain, Silver Wings Fountain, and Children’s Interactive Fountain.
  • A 62,000-sf (1.42-acre) rain garden and forebay on the north portion of the site has plantings of wall iris (Iris tectorum Maxim), common verbena (Verbena officinalis), and fragrant plantain lily (Hosta plantaginea). The rain garden can hold 314,556 gallons of stormwater. A 2-acre constructed wetland to the south has plantings of powdery thalia (Thalia dealbata) and softstem bulrish (Scirpus tabernaemontani). The rain garden and constructed wetland manage and treat stormwater from the park and Yunjin Road so that it meets quality requirements for recreational water according to the Surface Water Quality Standard of China.
  • A 10,408-gallon underground cistern collects a portion of the treated runoff that has passed through the forebay and rain garden. Water from the cistern is sufficient to irrigate almost 5 acres of planted areas or fully supply the Runway Fountain.
  • 82 plant species were planted on site, including 2,227 trees which are all native to the Yangtze River Delta. Trident maples along the preserved runway complement the site’s unique history, since the shape of the leaf resembles an airplane. Over 68% of the hardscape, or 468,230 sf, is shaded by deciduous trees. Species diversity continues to increase over time, with 108 plant species observed in 2022, a 32% increase from the 82 species originally planted on site. 
  • A sunken garden serves as a venue for cultural events and performances and accommodates up to 900 people. A multipurpose lawn can host events for up to 3,500 people or 5 concurrent soccer games in five-a-side-size fields. A runway playground provides a space for children.
  • 96 bicycle parking spaces and designated bike lanes within the park facilitate a green commute to and through the park. The park is adjacent to a subway station, creating “last mile” connections to commuters’ individual destinations from transit.
  • Several areas provide food and shelter for birds and pollinators, including a bird watching garden and butterfly grove. The bioengineered riparian edge and floating wetland module provide aquatic habitat.
  • Benches, boardwalks, and riverfront overlooks are made of fused bamboo lumber. 29,600 sf of bamboo lumber was used in the park.
  • The water table on the site is high, and the soil has a high level of clay. Although a drainage layer and ventilation pipes were added when the trees were planted, some trees have been growing poorly, especially ginkgoes and white magnolias. Under these conditions, water-tolerant plants such as tallow and willow would grow better. Soil conditions play a key role in plant growth. Although artificial intervention can support the survival of trees, it cannot make them grow better. In the planting design of the project, soil conditions should be the primary criteria for selecting plants.

Concrete Pathway: Shanghai Dingzhong New Material Co. Ltd. - CIP. Concrete Paving (Acid Wash Finish)
Recycled Brick Banding Pavement: Shanghai Baoye Steel Slag Comprehensive Development Industrial Co., LTD
Furniture: Shanghai Dingzhong New Material Co. Ltd. (Precast Concrete Bench)
Drainage/Erosion: Shanghai Shangfeng Group Co. Ltd. (Drainage Pipes)
Lumber/Decking/Edging: Zhejiang Dasso Industrial Group Co. Ltd. (boardwalk, overlook, and bench)
Parks/Recreation Equipment: Kompan Playgrounds (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
Rainwater Harvesting System: Shanghai Xingbo Construction and Installation Engineering Co. Ltd
ountain: Hongyi Environmental Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
Lighting: Zhejiang Goody Lighting Technology Co. Ltd.
Special Fire Door: Shanghai Jindun Fire Fighting Security Equipment Co., Ltd.

Project Team

Landscape Architect: Sasaki
Lighting Design Consultant: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects Ltd.; Arcplus Group Co. Ltd.
Fountain Design Consultant: Fluidity Design
Structural, Civil, and Electrical Engineer: Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (Group) Co., Ltd.
Architect: Scenic Architecture Office
Signage Design: Sasaki
General Constructor: Shanghai Gardening-Landscaping Construction Co. Ltd.

Role of the Landscape Architect

As the design lead, the landscape architect organized and coordinated the work of other consultants and reviewed their drawings; including architecture, lighting, water supply and drainage, electricity, water features, signage, and more. The landscape architect worked with the client to communicate with government authorities to implement the project. The landscape architect introduced the technical features and design principles of the rain garden along Yunjin Road to the City’s municipal department in order to communicate the project’s feasibility and receive approvals for construction. The landscape architect actively promoted SITES certification to clients to help them understand the value of sustainable design and improve environmental awareness, which resulted in the project earning the first SITES Gold certification in mainland China. After the project was completed, the landscape architect actively participated in sharing project activities and promoting the sustainable concept of the project through television, online, and academic activities.


Stormwater management, Water conservation, Populations & species richness, Energy use, Carbon sequestration & avoidance, Reused/recycled materials, Recreational & social value, Cultural preservation, Health & well-being, Safety, Scenic quality & views, Other social, Property values, Bioretention, Native plants, Efficient lighting, Active living, Urbanization

The LPS Case Study Briefs are produced by the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), working in conjunction with designers and/or academic research teams to assess performance and document each project. LAF has no involvement in the design, construction, operation, or maintenance of the projects. See the Project Team tab for details. If you have questions or comments on the case study itself, contact us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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