A Floating Forest: Fish Tail Park in Nanchang City Nanchang, China


A Floating Forest: Fish Tail Park in Nanchang City
Nanchang, China

In the city of Nanchang, within the Yangtze River flood plain in east-central China, Turenscape transformed a badly abused 126-acre landscape into a dreamlike floating forest that regulates stormwater, provides habitat for wildlife, offers an array of recreational opportunities, and gives local residents a new way to connect with nature. All of this has lent a unique identity to the New District, serving as a catalyst for urban development in the surrounding area. Fish Tail Park offers a replicable model of designed urban nature for regions with monsoon or variable climates that can address the multiple challenges of floods, habitat restoration, and recreational demands. The project is part of a larger effort by the landscape architect to show that it is possible to open up new space in cities, not just for people, but also for nature, and for powerful forces like monsoon storms that drive critical natural processes.

Transform an urban dumping ground into an island-jeweled lake 

Inspired by the ancient concept of farming atop marshland, and by simple cut-and-fill techniques such as the Aztec Chinampas, or floating garden system, the coal ash dumped on site was recycled and mixed with dirt from the fish pond dykes to create numerous islets.

At the same time, a lake able to accommodate two meters (6.5 feet) of water-level rise was created, providing the capacity to catch a full 1 million cubic meters of stormwater inflow.

A flood-adapted forest at the heart of the Park

Inspired by Poyang Lake’s native monsoon-flood-adapted marsh landscape, the firm selected tree species that are able to survive fluctuating water levels, including Taxodium distichum, Taxodium distichum var. imbricatum and Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Because fluctuating water levels often expose barren muddy shorelines, perennial and annual wetland plants were planted along the shorelines and island edges, and lotus plants provide highly efficient lake cover.

Photo credit: Turenscape

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