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Urban and Transport Planning: City Quarter around Hefei High-Speed Railway Station

The City Government of Hefei was seeking the METRASYS consortium to retain consultancy services for the development of a Master Plan concept including sustainable urban, landscape and traffic strategies for an environmentally friendly city, especially for the area around the planned new high-speed railway station.

The project site is located between two important parts of Hefei, comprising an area of roughly 180 ha. At present, the area is not developed. The main task is to develop an urban design master-plan concept with regard to

  • the allocation and mix of uses in build-up areas;
  • cityscape, urban fabric, and visual appearance;
  • public and green open spaces network as well as
  • the transportation network.

Another task was to make proposals for the interconnectivity between different transportation systems and traffic modes.

Hefei City is largely divided into two parts with clearly defined patterns and structures. One is the existing Old Town (it has a more organically grown, amorphous pattern), the second is represented by the projected city extension areas with their mostly rectangular, north-south oriented infrastructure grids. The project area is located between these two parts.

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The new station quarter has the potential to become an iconographical “entrance” or “welcome area” as well as a local regional and supra-regional hub station, thus representing the city as a whole.

The current airport, which will be abandoned in the next years, is situated in the south of the planning area and is already considered as a future development site. Major roads define the planning area. A highway with linkage to the urban road grid is running in the southern third of the area in east-west direction. The new railway station is located north of this highway. The new railway station will be linked to the public transit network via several projected Metro and BRT lines leading to a convenient and fast connection to the city centre. In the future, the station will become the entrance for both the downtown area in the North and the “New Lakeside District” under development in the South.

The project area "Station quarter" is framed by the Huizhou Avenue in the West, the Meiling Avenue in the East and the old airfield in the South. The particular, in terms of urban design geometry rather challenging triangular shape of the area is imposed by the overlay of newly projected, rectangular city-extension urban design grid, with the old airport road running diagonally to it. An additional complication of the geometry results from the corridor of the old light-railway airport line. The corridor has to be kept open as the city considers reactivating it in the future. The railway tracks as well as the Hening Expressway divide the area into a northern and a southern part.

While the northern part is projected as a very dense, urban situation with a focus on business uses, the southern part is less dense, but more event, entertainment, recreational and residential oriented. It incorporates the existing village, forest and lake as well as the old airfield and parts of the old airport facilities. It offers more open green spaces. By position, function as well as by size and appearance, the most important building and focal point of the area is the projected new high-speed railway station (Main Station) in the centre. It serves as a transportation hub, entrance gate to the city and interface between the northern and southern part of the area.