Sanhe Metro Masterplan\

Three rivers, three neighbourhoods

99 hectare masterplan informing planning policy for a new urban district on the periphery of Chengdu.

The Challenge

The commission was to provide an urban design master plan for the 99 hectare Sanhe area around a new station along the metro No.3 line extension in North Chengdu. The extension of the Metro Line 3 brings with it opportunities to connect Xindu to the centre of Chengdu, and act as a catalyst for growth in this emerging area of the city.

Our challenge was to offer an alternative to normal models of urban Chinese development that favour isolated superblocks, gated compounds and course-grained land use zoning.

The Big Idea

This project was an opportunity to think about the future form of the Chinese city at the metropolitan periphery.

Our concept is captured as ‘Three Rivers, Three Neighbourhoods’. Within the rapidly expanding urbanism of Chengdu, this master plan argues for a place-based type of development as an antidote to the anonymity of suburbia.

Around Sanhe station, a new area will develop exemplifying transit oriented development. The master plan encourages healthy living and community cohesion or ‘neighbourliness’. It will be an exemplary residential community with its own local commercial focus, with shared amenities, public spaces and attractive streets.

Sanhe has historically been a bridge between Chengdu and its outlying area to the north. Just as many years ago, the Silk Road acted as a bridge between cultures encouraging growth and knowledge exchange, so too does the metro line extension bring economic and social benefits.

  • Project Details
  • Collaboration

Project Summary

  • Project name: Sanhe Metro Masterplan
  • Location: Chengdu, China
  • Sectors: Infrastructure & Transport , Residential , Workplace
  • Value: Undisclosed
  • Type: Mixed use
  • Client: Xindu District Planning Bureau
  • Status: Complete
  • Completion date: 2013

Project Team

Happold consulting


  • BD Architect of the Year Awards 2013 - Masterplanning and Public Realm - Shortlisted


We teamed with BuroHappold Consulting to offer an integrated service where masterplanning capacity was tested agasint emerging local data and wider economic forces. Our planning authority client particularly valued this economic input as a way of underpinning our recommendations.

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