Sasaki’s Xuhui Runway Park project in Shanghai, China has received SITES Gold certification from the Sustainable SITES Initiative, making it the first project on mainland China to receive a SITES certification. The park revitalizes a unique part of Shangai’s history through innovative, restorative means. The site was previously home to Longhua Airport, inspiring the “Runway” design of linear car lanes, bike and pedestrian paths, rain gardens, and green spaces.
SITES Certification recognizes site sustainability and resilience practices, with an added focus on restoring ecosystems. Credits are applied for in different sections and, when earned, they dictate the level of certification that a project receives. Of the 112 credits attempted by the Xuhui Runway Park team, all 112 were awarded, meaning that the project sufficiently accomplished all sustainability practices attempted. This Gold-level application achieved credits across all ten sections of the SITES program, including exemplary performance credits for soil restoration and stormwater management. Two projects in Greater China have received SITES Certification prior to this award, making Xuhui Runway Park the third overall.
Construction on Xuhui Runway Park began in 2016, as the team worked to reimagine the space for pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Pieces of concrete from the original airport runways were discovered and re-used to evoke memory, while rain gardens manage stormwater and support native plants, further adding to a sense of tranquility and growth. Phase I of the project was completed in 2018, with phases II and III following this year.