Fugang Rural Planning, China

Mike Browell visited the District Council of Shan in Shandong Province, China, to advise on a major Wetland Conservation project. He was invited by the Directors of Planning and Development, who have appointed Shandong Province Architects to provide planning advice.

Mike made a presentation to Planning Bureau staff, explaining the approach to wetland conservation in Britain, and then went on to make suggestions for their Fugang Lakes project. His overview was that it is an excellent environmental project with the potential to deliver a world class tourist destination.

Protection of wetland habitats is an increasingly important international priority, and many countries are developing similar conservation projects. Ecotourism is well established in many countries but only just starting in China. It has the potential to attract considerable investment and to receive income from millions of international ecotourists, as well as a growing number of tourists from inside China.

Mike’s vision was of a well designed Tourist Destination, similar to Centre Parcs in Britain. This might include an Eco-Hotel and Eco-village with low density buildings within a green setting, and a modified lake edge to create new and varied habitat for birdlife. He recommended preparing a Planning Brief to help control development.


The District Council took Mike to see the first buildings on the Lake project and invited his comments. He was critical of the scale and massing of the buildings, and thought that an opportunity to design with nature had been missed. His advice was welcomed and his views were shared by the Director of Planning.

Mike was then shown a historic urban area with ancient archways and some traditional courtyard buildings. The Planning Bureau asked for his advice on creating a new urban plaza, Heroes Square, linking a Mao period Communist Party Headquarters with the historic streetscape. Mike recommended linking the new square with a pedestrian ‘Historic Quarter’ with restored buildings, traditional paving materials and some new buildings in a traditional style.