Essay: Landuse in Suzhou Industrial Park in the past

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  • Landuse in Suzhou Industrial Park in the past
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The land that SIP started out on was initially dominated by agricultural and residential areas which are in the form of farms and cottages respectively. The land was dominated by greenery and lakes. Most of the cleared land is used to build high-rise buildings and industries within SIP. As rural housing were removed, there was a need to allocate a large proportion of land to residential areas in SIP to accommodate these people who have lost their houses.

Figure 1: Master Plan of SIP in 1994

In the first ever landuse plan for SIP, most of the land allocated was for industrial, commercial and residential purposes. There was one main commercial centre, with residential areas surrounding it in a rough concentric circle. There were also further smaller commercial areas scattered among the residential areas. The industrial areas were furthest away from the main commercial centre. This landuse represents some form of the Burgess’s model. In terms of layout, development seemed to radiate outwards from the commercial centre. However, the location of industry is found at the outermost ring while the residential areas are found closer to the commercial area which is different from the Burgess’s model. Furthermore, in terms of shape, the shape of the CBD was also not a circle, but a rectangle. The development around the CBD is in a series of rectangles and not concentric circles. In terms of assumption, unlike the Burgess’s model, the master plan took into account physical landforms (Jinji Lake) that could obstruct development but also promote recreational activities. On top of that, the residential areas were not being segregated by socio-economic statuses.

Landuse in Suzhou Industrial Park in the present

Figure 2: Master plan of SIP from 2007-2020, where the area is segregated into districts.

At present, the two main primary landuses are residential and industrial.This landuse map of Suzhou is much more detailed than its predecessor, with many communal amenities planned and it resembles the Multiple Nuclei Model. In terms of functions, transport lines are considered which is reminiscent of the multiple nuclei model. In terms of functions, the housing areas are being categorised into low, medium and high density which is different from the multiple nuclei model which separates housing areas by socio-economic statuses. On top of that, unlike the current landuse of SIP, the Multiple Nuclei Model does not take into account recreational facilities like golf course and parks. In terms of the location of the CBDs, as well as the sizes and functions of the different CBDs, SIP’s landuse resembles the multiple nuclei model. This is because there are numerous CBDs that act as the nexus from which growth radiates out and there is no central large CBD.

Currently, SIP has residential, commercial and recreational facilities as well as educational institutions, in addition to industrial developments. As seen from figure 3, residential areas are mostly situated in the middle of SIP with a mix of high and low- density housing. Commercial areas are still dotted among the housing areas in the centre as well as in the West which promote accessibility for workers. Based on figure 4, cultural hubs entertainment hubs concentrate around Jinji Lake, which is South-West of SIP. Recreational centres like the golf centre are found south of the Jinji Lake, as seen from figure 5. The presence of Jinji Lake caters for many water-related recreational activities which resulted in the land around it to be predominantly used for housing and entertainment purposes. Industries are located around the peripheral region of SIP, far away from the residential areas. Educational institutions like primary and secondary schools are mainly found in close proximity to the housing areas of SIP.

Figure 3: Low-density housing (foreground) and high-density housing (background) in the centre of SIP

Figure 4: Aerial view of Jinji Lake and its surroundings at night, with residential areas in the background and cultural/entertainment hubs along the lake

Figure 5: Golf course in SIP

Problems that Suzhou Industrial Park is facing currently

SIP is having many problems with pollution. Due to canals and industries located at the periphery, there is heavy pollution of SIP’s water bodies. From Figure 6, traffic congestion has been severe in SIP and has resulted in a deterioration of the residents’ standard of living since the roads are in close proximity to the housing areas. As SIP is also experiencing a growing population (Figure 7), there is a need to enlarge the residential areas to accommodate more people. These problems will affect the landuse in the future as the government seeks to maintain productivity and yet ensure a higher standard of living and greater environmental protection. It will be these problems that we will be focusing on in our extrapolation.

Figure 6: A congested highway to SIP

Figure 7: Population Graph depicting upwards growth of population size

Landuse in future Suzhou

Based on the problems that SIP will face in the future, we predict that there will be a pivot towards a more sustainable development with a strong emphasis on protecting the environment and improving the standards of living of the residents.

The government will allocate more green reserves like parks at the expense of industries to ensure that pollution is kept minimal. Most of the industries may be moved towards the east and away from the edge where there are minimal water bodies so that water pollution can be minimised. Residential areas located at the far east will be demolished and move closer to the city centre to make way for the industries. The land between the canals at the periphery and the industries will be replanted with trees and there will be the construction of dams and windmills in the region as the location is favourable for the collection of energy. As there are multiple water bodies in the Midwest of SIP where the industries are residing, it will be a favourable position for more parks and residential areas to be constructed after the industries are moved away.

More high-rise buildings will be constructed to meet the demands of a growing population. It will be situated around Jinji Lake at the land of the industries which have moved towards the east. Low-density residential areas will also be demolished to make way for more medium and high-density residential areas in the centre of SIP. Residential areas will concentrate mostly in the centre as well as the Midwest of SIP. The research institution will be shifted towards the city centre and among the residential areas rather than at the periphery to ease accessibility for the researchers.

The current roads may be narrowed to make way for wider cycling and walking pathways. These cycling and walking pathways will be situated at a distance from the roads. The spaces between the road and the pathways will be planted with trees. These roads and pathways will cut through residential areas in the centre of SIP to promote accessibility.

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