A Polluted Urban Waterway in China Becomes a Beautiful Garden

In All, Asia/Mid-East, Environmental & Sustainability, Urban Inspiration by World Unwrapped

Project Lead: John ToddEcological Design

China has many urban canals and waterways, some even dating back to around 600 AD. With well over 1,500 rivers and the longest canal in the world, China has the power to make a great impact on the environment, positive or negative. This urban canal restorer, Screen-Shot-2015-03-30-at-3.46.41-PMmoonlighting as a garden, in Fuzhou, China is a perfect example of how it’s possible to turn something environmentally degradative into something environmentally sustainable and beautiful.

John Todd (Ecological Design) collaborated with Ocean Arks International to turn one of the worst polluted canals in Fuzhou, called Baima, into a restorer and garden.

Fuzhou has a population of about 6 million and has a network of canals throughout the city. All of the wastewater and sewage empties into these canals. As a result, John Todd and the team that worked on the Urban Municipal Canal Restorer in Fuzhou had to design something that is: sustainable, restorative, green, and lovely. All of this was achieved with this project, completed in 2002.

The urban canal restorer used 12,000 plants, native to China, along with a water recycling treatment system to 1) reduce odors, 2) eliminate floating solids, and 3) improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood (John Todd Ecological Design: Sustainable Water Management, Urban Municipal Canal Restorer Fuzhou, China). What used to be sewage and waste is now a sustainable water eco-system and garden thanks to the work and strategy of John Todd Ecological Design, Ocean Arks International, and the city of Fuzhou, China.

Even in urban environments where it may seem hard to incorporate nature and decrease waste, it is possible to find green sustainable solutions that not only make the communities more beautiful, but also make our cities and environmental landscapes (natural or artificial) more sustainable and beneficial to the earth. Cities do not have to pollute and degrade the earth, they can be urban and eco-efficient.