Central Green Forest Park

From a contaminated industrial estate to a 5.5 sq km oasis of nature in the heart of Beijing, China. 

Since its first stage opened in 2020, Central Green Forest Park has fast become one of Beijing’s most popular green spaces, playing host to a vast array of recreation and education activities as well as cultural festivities. It is also an urban regeneration success story that has seen the ecological recovery of a brownfield site that was a former chemicals factory. 

Hassell was one of the three winning practices in the Beijing Government’s visionary international competition with a holistic scheme. Our main concept of a 24 season forest was a key direction for the design of the entire project. The masterplan proposed an innovative, dynamic forest framework of fast and slow growth trees that regenerates and heals the organic ecosystem, one that favours wildlife and enhances habitats. 

Our experiential and regenerative approach redefines the design potential for parks and botanic gardens as places where people and nature can thrive together. Central Green Forest Park empowers development through resilient ecological values while simultaneously catalysing discussions on sustainability, biodiversity and community-oriented public environments. 

Together with our consultants and partners, Hassell was responsible for the master plan for the entire 5.5 sq km site followed by the detail design and delivery for the Autumn and Winter sections of the Park. By showcasing diverse landscape types and seasonality, the design shares the country’s rich culture, history and natural bounty. 

Over 130,000 trees have been planted on the site. Different plants have been chosen to flourish during the various seasons, at mixed scales and density. With planned succession, this parkland will evolve from a designed forest’ to a near-natural one as the trees and planting mature. 

Once-polluted soil is gradually being rejuvenated through a process of phytoremediation, with the public gradually introduced to different parts of the park as areas become safe for visitation. As a result of habitat restoration and in a testament to ecological recovery, many indicator animals and birds have returned to the park, including hoopoes, owls and eagles. 

Interwoven throughout the Forest are activity destinations and outlooks that provide moments of surprise and delight. From bird watching areas, playgrounds, botanic gardens, sports fields, observation hills and sculpture parks, the tapestry of forest rooms offers endless recreation possibilities. Residents and visitors now flock to Central Green Forest Park to immerse themselves in nature and experience the beauty of the changing seasons. 

In 2022, the independent China Environmental United Certification Centre calculated that the carbon absorbed by the Central Green Forest Park’s trees and vegetation have neutralised 3,097 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas, helping to achieve a Carbon Neutralisation Certificate. Additionally, the Park’s 600,000 sqm of buildings use more than 40% green energy through geothermal heat pump and photovoltaics, which neutralise 11,556 tonnes of carbon every year. 


Beijing Investment Group


Beijing, China






5.5 sq km


Landscape Architecture Corporation China

Design team

Andrew Wilkinson, Sean Lin, Chong Wang, Andi An, Liam Mouritz,Che Wang, Wei Yuan, Xiaoli Zhao, Sophie Zhou, Michelle Zhu, Yucheng Chen, Chris Kelly, Yue Cao, Yushan Cheng, Haodong Hu, Howard Lui, Jordan Soriot, Yiwen Tang, Chuhan Zhang, Kairos Zhang


Xi Rao and Xuefeng Li

The Park is an experimental forest in an urban ecological context. We’re just at the start of the regeneration process, and the more the Park thrives over time, the greater the value it will bring to the city.”

— Sean Lin, Principal

Hassell has demonstrated it shares our commitment to delivering high quality design outcomes and has dealt with many challenges such as project complexity, a tight program and demanding requirements.”

Beijing Investment Group

Central Green Forest Park is an arboretum — a museum of trees — that creates a natural education opportunity, a cultural landscape, and a verdant destination for Beijing’s residents and visitors.”

— Richard Mullane, Principal
130K trees planted in two years
5.5K sqm in the sub-centre of Beijing
24 seasons reflected in the design

In the few years since its opening, Central Green Forest Park has delivered great ecological and cultural value, and helped created a unique identity for Tongzhou as a sub-centre of Beijing.

The master plan’s six-stage process has transformed the site from a heavily polluted brownfield industrial estate into an urban forest habitat that achieves 85% forest coverage and a self-sustained stormwater management system.

Stage 1: Identify soil contamination and topography

Stage 2: Recover an ancient canal tributary; heal and contain the soil

Stage 3: Compose a planning structure

Stage 4: Seed an arboretum — an outdoor museum of trees

Stage 5: Connect a diverse range of activities and experiences

Stage 6: Grow a multi-functional mosaic of forest rooms

Recovery of a canal tributary through the park contributes to water resource management. Our design optimises this natural drainage corridor for stormwater management and establishes marshes, wetlands and floating islands as unique habitats for animals and plants and micro habitats for aquatic animals and plants. The canal landscape and its shaded winding watercourses offer refreshing opportunities for visitors to meander in the embrace of nature.

As well as supporting the burgeoning Tongzhou administrative district of Beijing, this urban forest reconnects residents, workers and visitors with the Grand Canal. It’s a move that reasserts the importance of this historic trade route as a cultural landscape and focal point for the area.

Central Green Forest Park is now the green lung” of the Tongzhou District, celebrating the value of time, the heritage of culture, and the wonder of nature.

Four aspirations drove the design expression for Central Green Forest Park:

  • Transform polluted post-industrial land
  • Revitalise the site and rebuild cultural identity
  • Create an adaptive and sustainable landscape system
  • Promote forest succession and habitat restoration.

We developed four key design strategies to achieve these goals:

  • Demolish, remediate and preserve
  • Construct a large-scale dynamic forest framework
  • Grow resilient landscapes
  • Celebrate culture through an arboretum of 24 seasonscape forests.
  • 2022 International Federation of Landscape Architects — Australia Asia Pacific and Middle East (IFLA AAPME): Award of Excellence
  • 2022 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards: International Landscape Architecture Award

Remarkably, this rich and diverse landscape has been achieved in three years, and has delivered great ecological and cultural value for its locality.”

— AILA Awards Jury

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