Creating Places...Creating Spaces

Silk Tree International landscape design and community building

An exploding ageing population in China (WHO figures show that by 2050 China will have more than 330 million Chinese aged 65 or older, with 100 million of them aged over 80), has prompted the Chinese government to lead the way in how to manage an ageing population “actively.”

This management includes not only programs and funding for aged care facilities but funding for the redevelopment of parks and gardens to promote and healthy and active lifestyle. Wanshou Park is a shining demonstration of one of these initiatives, the park has been redesigned to reintegrate the elderly into the community, encouraging them to age ‘actively’ by encouraging participation in physical and social activities and using the park and its surrounding facilities to offer additional services such as health and mental wellbeing.

The park refurbishment project carried out by Silk Tree International comprises redeveloping the existing park into four distinct components: encompassing rehabilitation, exercise, music and sport.

The design of the park includes design aspects beyond the traditional – incorporating aspects such as a children’s playground to encourage a mix of old and young energies, fruit trees, to invoke memory through smell, working with local schools and hospitals in the area to participate in activities within the park, as well as looking at ways to improve transport lines to bring bus routes closer to the park and how existing buildings surrounding the park could be reconverted into rehabilitation and health care centres, possible short-term housing, learning and educational facilities and refitting an existing hotel into a new one.

If the Wanshou Park redevelopment is successful, it could become a model for other parks for driving urban development around a focus on rehabilitation and aged care facilities.

Wanshou Park, Beijing, PRC