Development Strategic Research of Pearl Water City District, Liaozhong, China

As Shenyang in northern China, looks to boost economic growth while rehabilitating its polluted past, the city hopes to do so in a sustainable way, to serve as a leader to other municipalities in the country.


  • Shenyang, Liaoning, China


  • L’sea International Holdings Ltd.

Project Status

  • Completed in 2013

WSP was commissioned by a developer, in partnership with the local government, to engage in strategic research and conceptual planning for the 12-square-kilometre Pearl Water City District, which will be located just west of Shenyang along the Puhe Ecological Corridor. Located downstream of the Puhe River, the site will be an important node in the region to promote urban-rural development and to contribute to the mitigation of the area’s existing pollution.

WSP’s planning team delivered an overall development strategy for the region, a rural district composed mainly of farmland, lakes, and small villages, with the goal of urban-rural integration. This conceptual plan envisions the Pearl Water City as a sustainable city for society, economy, and the environment.

Environmental performance

WSP’s planning scheme seeks to rehabilitate the existing environment, which has been affected by years of pollution.

The proposed design takes significant effort to address water quality in the region. In the conceptual plan, a branch of the Puhe will be diverted through an artificial wetland with the aim of reducing existing sewage and contamination. Purified water would then re-join the Puhe downstream. In addition, green corridors, serving as important boundaries between planned functional districts, act as migration passageways for wild animals. The green corridors and original farmland connect to provide an ‘ecological green basement’ for the entire Pearl Water City. Arranged into a multi-centred pattern, each district is mixed-use and compact for high efficiency and long-term development.

Social performance

WSP’s conceptual plan focuses on economic growth and social equity of the region. While the new city will attract a large number of residents, the economic improvement and development of the area should not destroy the original life of the local villagers. Much of the existing farm area will be transformed into well thought-out urban farms or distinct ‘Pearl Villages’ with community facilities on the premise that the original resources will be protected and that agricultural and service job opportunities will become available to current residents.