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Proposal by MLA+, OKRA and Shenzhen IBR.

Nature as Leverage

“Nature as Leverage” introduces a new narrative and development principles to Shenshan’s Coastal Area. “Nature as Leverage” means a new balance: not putting the economy or urbanization first but using nature as a tool for development. “Nature as Leverage” shows that local and ecological development thinking serves disaster protection along coastlines and near mountains as well as ecological and urban development.

A resilient and dynamic blue-green system between mountains and sea is the framework for climate change adaptation, ecological regeneration, and the basis for all other developments. A local coastal development pattern responds to this framework and guides the development of life and economy in synergy, not in contrast with nature. The urban infrastructure supports the regenerative qualities of Shenshan Coast and is strongly linked to the unique experience of the place. Implementation proposals allow local stakeholders and partners to grow in capacity and ambition over time.

Urbanization in Synergy with Nature

Our spatial plan proposes a structure where nature protection and urban development don’t need to be antagonistic to each other. We strike a balance between ecology, development and economy, without compromising any of those elements, by designing a nature-led development.

The coast of Shenshan will act as a barrier against extreme climate phenomena, while simultaneously improving quality of life and enriching the biodiversity of land and water alike. The urban environment acts as a nurturing factor for the ecological framework, and lifestyle activities are made possible that aren’t centered around the city. At the same time, we create space for innovation and tradition to co-exist by providing dedicated areas for each, and thus creating an environment where nature and the city, tradition and innovation complement one another.

The basis for urban development is the nature framework that has three main spatial elements: the mountain frame, green fingers connecting mountains and sea, and the ocean and the freshwater system. Within this nature framework, we propose a rich and continuous coastal belt. The green fingers structure the zone into distinctive areas. For each plot, we give guidance on urban typologies that maximize the natural character of the surroundings.

Enjoy the Area with Green Mobility

We propose a coastal light rail as a very convenient and green way to move along the coast. There will be no need to use a car once people arrive at Shenshan Coast. The plots between the coastal boulevard and the ocean are car-free. We will use this public transportation route as a lead to design a variety of urban experiences.

The plan builds on the experience MLA+ has built in recent years in the development of sustainable urban solutions for a changing world climate.

Proposal by MLA+, OKRA and Shenzhen IBR.

urbanNext (May 20, 2024) Nature as Leverage. Retrieved from
Nature as Leverage.” urbanNext – May 20, 2024,
urbanNext May 3, 2023 Nature as Leverage., viewed May 20, 2024,<>
urbanNext – Nature as Leverage. [Internet]. [Accessed May 20, 2024]. Available from:
Nature as Leverage.” urbanNext – Accessed May 20, 2024.
Nature as Leverage.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: [Accessed: May 20, 2024]

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