The Healing City

The Healing City forms a new set of strategic principles to heal the nature, people and neighborhoods of the Yanzihu area.

The greater Shenzhen area suffers, as other megacities, from uncontrollable and rapid urban growth, creating increasingly poor living conditions, threatening the health and wellbeing of human beings. Central to the design of the Healing City masterplan are six anchoring principles that promotes a sustainable approach to healthy urban living. 


The project area suffers some of the typical side effects of rapid urbanization that are continuously threatening to deteriorate its invaluable natural resources - the river, the green river banks, hills and mountains. 

The term ‘Healing City’ is used to explore a series of six strategic principles focusing on the health of nature, people and neighborhoods to demonstrate the possibility of sustainable urban growth.


The Yanzihu masterplan rests on the concept ’Healing Nature, Healing People and Healing Neighborhoods’. Through upgraded and renewed water quality and connected landscapes that act as the ‘lungs’ of the area, nature becomes an integrated part of the masterplan. 

The six principles forming the strategies behind the Yanzihu masterplan rests on the purpose to heal nature, people and neighborhoods. 

Healing Nature
1. Restorative Lakes: Today, the river lacks any kind of water management, resulting in pollution of both water and landscape. The masterplan expand the river into three large lakes concerned with purification, restauration and recreation. 

2. Connective Landscape:  Existing buildings with historical value are transformed for public purposes. A green band that connects landscape and city run through this cultural zone. 

Healing People
3. Public Access to Water and landscape: To promote a healthier lifestyle, a central residents are engaged through community, movement and play. All ‘urban edges’ towards the green zone are planned for community functions, sports etc.

4. Urban farming: Ensuring supply of healthy food, the plan encourage residents to engage in urban farming at all scales. Excess rain etc. is reused for watering.  

Healing Neighborhood
5. Conscious mobility: The approach to mobility and public space hierarchies heals the neighborhoods from congestion and traffic emissions. The main mobility loop connects the entire plan, optimized for future technology. 

6. Healthy prosperity: Through diversity in sizes, materiality, program and expression the urban hierarchy encourages knowledge-sharing, exchange of ideas, economy and healthy life.

Name: The Healing City
Type: Competition 1st prize
Program: Urbanism
Client: People's Government of Pingshan District, Shenzhen
Size: 900 ha
Location: Shenzhen CH
Year: 2020 -
Image credits: ADEPT
Team: Martin Laursen, Martin Krogh, Anders Lonka, Simon Poulsen, Tatyana Eneva, Jens Peter Nielsen, Viktoria Matryuk, Karolina Kędzior, Martine Seedorff