Ningbo One Hour Loop
Instead of suggesting an enclosed pedestrian circuit, the initiative evolves around implementing an open system. It connects and coordinates the existing publicly accessible places at all levels. This includes public spaces such as waterfront parks or sidewalks next to roads on a bridge. Accessible places could also be commercial venues such as upper-floor open-air promenades in shopping plazas or pedestrian streets in historical neighbourhoods, lined by bars and clubs. The initiative also encourages future developments and public uses of such venues. The goal is to eventually form a 3D-network of enjoyable pedestrian environments with over 267,000m2 parks and over 500,000m2 commercial space connected around the city centre of Ningbo.
The One Hour Loop refuses to be a mega-structure approach of a single large structure. It was also decided not to confine the design to a symbolic form at bird view level. Instead, the proposal refers to traditional gardens and historic city alleyways, which are deeply rooted in the local context of the nearby Drum Tower andMoon Lake neighbourhoods. Taking these typologies as references, gardens could act as enclosed natureand be juxtaposed to settlements in improvisational ways to balance the rigidness of urban developments. The historic alleys wind their way in between the walls of the courtyard houses. They utiliseleftover spaces and surprise the pedestrian with unexpected turns, places and atmospheres. Such a system should not be simplified as informal growth. It is rather a robust form, shaping and responding to complicated forces in the urban environment. The same kind of response is applied in theOne Hour Loop. A total of five kilometres in length, with 14,600m2of elevated path, 39,500m2of ground trail and 17,900 m2of utilised commercial space, the circuit cannot be considered a large single project, but several small to medium-sized ones.It is envisaged to be realised overtime by either the city government or investors from the private sector or jointly, and designed by different architects.