Connecting City Life with Nature

Yungu Apartments, located in Hangzhou, is being celebrated for its unique approach to play, through the inclusion of a Nature Discovery Park. One of the first such projects in China designed by Place Design Group, the project incorporates signage and sculptures throughout the public realm, creating opportunities for children to learn about nature, while being amongst nature.

This unique design was recognised at the 7th China Real Estate & Design Awards, winning a Merit Award for Landscape Design. The project was part of Vanke’s Community Vitality Centre, connecting multiple zones, integrating activities that cater for all ages throughout the community.

The vitality ring, central to the project, connects different areas and functional spaces through pedestrian and multi-mobility trails. An unobstructed loop has been created through this ring to ensure greater connectivity and engagement across the community.

“What we created for residents is not just a garden around the apartment building, we managed to create a community. Establishing a system of physical activities, that allow fun, educational learning and emotional connection,” said Sue Wang, International Design Director at Place Design Group.

Providing interaction, engagement and networking was key for this project, to achieve a truly integrated landscape that would unite diverse aspects of recreation with educational physical and emotional benefits. Whilst connectivity was a driving force behind the design, consideration of the changing seasons was also a priority to ensure year-round shade, sensory and learning opportunities.

“This was a conscious decision to be able to show what happens with each change in season, educating children of the natural world around them. Artistically sculptured signs are positioned all over the public realm, dividing each section, while providing educational information of the plants, insects and birds that surround,” says Sue Wang.

Our cities continue to grow up and out. As our urban areas transform, the need for integration of nature into these places increases.  Now more than ever there is a need to priorities trees in our streets, plants in our gardens and nature as our neighbour. Combining green spaces in our cities creates ecosystems, bringing a diversity of insect and bird species which, in turn, keep the trees healthy, followed by the people that surround.

Sue Wang