Changli Garden, a zig zag walkway to stimulate community participation
Located in the south of the Expo Park, Zhoujiadu Street Neighborhood is a high-density living block with many typical large residential communities. The semi-circular Nanmatou Road，where the project is located，passes through it.
In 2018, Shanghai began demolishing illegal buildings. As a result, all illegal commercial stores on the east side of Nanmatou Road were removed, leaving a 350-meter-long curved green space at the boundary of The Changwu Community. The boundary became a monotonous and lengthy fence in the city and enclosed a barren and obsoleted wasteland inside the community. Therefore, how to reshape the city boundary and stimulate street life has become an urgent issue for this project.
Built in the 1990s, Changwu Community is a high-density residential area. The greenbelt between buildings within the community is mostly used to solve the parking problem, leaving no space for community public activities, and residents have almost no place to go for daily leisure.
Therefore, the original intention of this project is to provide an opportunity for the restoration and improvement of the community's public environment through the regeneration of the walls.
The construction wisdom of Suzhou gardens acted as a reference for this project. The urban interface of the Canglang Pavilion facing the Fengxi Stream is dynamic and full of vitality due to the double corridor design. The winding corridors of Humble Administrator's Garden makes itself a beautiful landscape... Therefore, as the boundary of the neighborhood, the wall of Changwu community also has the opportunity to become a linear garden that accommodates daily street life. The goal of this regeneration project is to transform a 6-to-8-meter-wide margin into the central garden of this community.
In the regeneration design, the zigzag walkway is established at first. According to the location of the residential buildings along the street, the trees near the wall, and the functional nodes on the street, the path of the corridor was formed correspondingly. The design is not only an extension to the internal environment of the community but also an expansion of the sidewalks by providing pocket gardens. In this way, each space not only has functional value but also interweaves the environment inside and outside the fence, which eliminates the sense of isolation brought by the fence, making this wall & garden a central place where both residents in the inner community and tourists in the outer street can get a sense of participation.
The dynamic form of the corridor accommodates various functions: some of them provide a rest space for residents to go home to buy vegetables, some provide a buffer zone for the entrance of the community, some provide a reading courtyard for children after school, and some become a street meeting place for elderly people to gather and chat.
In this project, the strategies often adopted in garden design, such as "interdependence [因], borrowing [借], suitability [体], and appropriateness [宜] as well as coloring by the categories[随类赋彩]," are used to deal with the uncertainties that must be faced in construction work within a community. Such strategies enables the design team to make dynamic adjustments according to residents' feedbacks in the implementation process, and flexibly incorporate surrounding factors such as bus station waiting area into the design without losing the original ideal scene.
The practice of Changli Garden showcases the strategies of garden design combine good vision and flexible operation. As a design technique, it not only integrates various factors into a landscape, but also stimulates community participation, which lays a solid foundation for the further development of social integration in the future.
Tong Ming, Ren Guang
Guo Hongqu, Yang Liuxin, Xie Chao
Tong Ming is a Professor of the College of Architecture at Southeast University. Tong Ming founded TM Studio in 2004 and began his architectural practice. As a professor, he put his team in an academic environment while building in the urban context, thinking in-depth, and breaking the boundary between institutions and communities. They combine academic researches and critical thinking with professional practices. TM Studio's architecture projects have been world-widely published in various high impact journals and monographs. Tong Ming has also participated in many influential exhibitions like the 2008 Venice Biennale, the "Chinese Contemporary Architecture Exhibition" in Paris, France, and the "M8 in China, China Contemporary 8 Architects Architectural Exhibition."