Seagull Island Master Plan

Rapid urbanization in the Pearl River Delta, China's most important ecosystem, has threatened the region with increased stormwater flooding, reduced water quality, and other environmental challenges. Seagull Island, located in the Pearl River off the coast of Guangzhou, is one of the few places in the Delta largely untouched by urban development. Still, the island's ecology and agricultural industry are affected by industrial degradation. The 36-square-kilometer island presents an opportunity to explore how a landscape shaped by waterways, with diverse elements like canals and aquaculture ponds, can become part of a broad strategy for environmental restoration.

SOM’s master plan for Seagull Island offers strategies to strengthen its natural assets, reverse degradation, and create sustainable residential districts. Focusing on six core components—water, ecology, new economies, agriculture, community, and mobility—the plan seeks to create resilient infrastructure and spur economic development. Designed for implementation over three phases, it benefits the island's existing residents by encouraging organic growth and fostering new opportunities for agriculture, eco-tourism, and ecology-driven industries.The plan improves conditions for agricultural activity, while supporting the transition to an economy centered on ecotourism.

The master plan also calls for investments in sustainable infrastructure. Long term strategies for water management combine existing and planned infrastructure for treatment and reuse. The plan also prioritizes transportation, with an extensive network of ferries, cycling routes, streetcars, autonomous buses, and connections to existing roadways and public transit. As a sustainable vision for Seagull Island, the master plan champions future environmental, cultural, and economic growth.