Press Releases

Nanhu Country Village Plan Awarded Inaugural “Prize for Cities of the Future”

Beijing, China: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Jiaxing Alliance Development Corp. are pleased to announce that Nanhu Country Village was awarded the inaugural Prize for Cities of the Future by the Paulson Institute and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. SOM completed the Nanhu Country Village Master Plan in 2011 in collaboration with SWA Group, Sherwood Design Engineers, and AECOM Economics. 

The Prize for Cities of the Future recognizes Nanhu Country Village as a leading sustainability project in China that offers a creative and effective solution for ecological development. SOM’s Plan integrates modern agricultural techniques with sustainable infrastructure for a 21st-century livable community. The Plan reorganizes farms so that the new village can increase in density without putting stress on farmland. 

More than 700 hectares of the 1,100 hectare site will be maintained as working farms with produce to help feed the nearly 80 million residents of the region’s mega cities: Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou. In addition to improving agricultural productivity, the Master Plan improves water quality by removing dead-end canals and developing a system of terraced bio-swales and wetlands that filter and cleanse wastewater. 

Phase 1 of the organic farm has been in operation for two years. Built with sustainable farming methods and new technologies, the farm is also running training programs for a new generation of farmers. Phase 1 housing development broke ground in September 2013. 

The award was presented November 7 in Beijing at the seminar "Cities of the Future: Urban Sustainability of Modern China” hosted by the Paulson Institute and CCIEE. Former US Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Xu Kuangdi, Adviser for CCIEE and Vice Chairman of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference presented the award to Zhao Shumei, Vice Mayor of Jiaxing. Former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley chaired the Jury Committee comprising global experts on urbanization and sustainability. 

Mr. Paulson said, “This prize provides an incentive for developing innovative, sustainable solutions and promotes collaboration between China and the US. It is about encouraging leaders – economic, political, and otherwise, to push for practical solutions to real challenges.” 

The design team was led by Ellen Lou, SOM City Design Practice Director. “Our design for Nanhu Country Village addresses the uncontrolled growth and sprawl around Nanhu, neighborhoods with no unique character and a lack of open space,” said Ms. Lou. “We are honored to have worked with Jiaxing Alliance Development Corp. to advance a vision for a diverse, mixed-use community based on sustainability.” 

"In China, most developments are really big. We asked SOM to help us introduce a more human-scaled project so that people can walk and have that village feeling. This area is quite polluted, and SOM has given us new information on how to do a constructed wetland so that we can actually clean the river water," said Iris Ting, director of the design department of Jiaxing Alliance Development Corp. 

SOM’s Master Plan for Nanhu Country Village received a 2013 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in January 2013. 

About SOM’s City Design Practice

Founded in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP is one of the world's leading architecture, urban design, engineering, and interior architecture firms. SOM’s global City Design Practice – the most highly awarded urban planning group – advances bold ideas for the future of cities, creating sustainable, livable and resilient places on five continents. It has completed some of the largest and most complex urban development projects in the world, including Millennium Park in Chicago and Canary Wharf in London. Visit and follow @SOMCityDesign on Twitter. 

About The Paulson Institute

The Paulson Institute, an independent center located at the University of Chicago, is a non-partisan institution that promotes sustainable economic growth and a cleaner environment around the world. Established in 2011 by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, the Institute’s initial work has focused on developing programs to help the United States and China work efficiently and effectively to address pivotal economic and environmental challenges.