Xichong Coast Recovery Plan

Xichong is one of China’s most beautiful coasts, with sandy beaches and a biodiverse tropical landscape. But it’s also part of Shenzhen, the tech megacity whose rapid development has degraded Xichong’s pristine environment along the South China Sea.

Typhoon Mangkhut – one of the largest to hit Southern China – also destroyed vast areas of this coastal landscape, along with many buildings. Out of that adversity came an opportunity – for a new beginning and a more sustainable future.

As one of three winners in an international competition, our plan for Xichong’s future restores wetlands and mangrove forests while also building tourism and education.

Sustainable, community-driven ecotourism developments are located inland around existing villages – and away from environmentally sensitive areas. By limiting development and visitor numbers in conservation areas, we can protect local habitat and sensitive ecologies. 

Our plan also includes a long-term resilience strategy for actively restoring the area while also mitigating disasters. Our strategy reinforces Xichong’s dynamic self-recovery system linking land, beach and sea – making the area truly resilient by nature’ over time.

Local communities play an important role in our vision for a resilient Xichong – both in planning and operating the ecotourism sector and protecting and managing their surrounding environment. Under our community-driven model for the precinct, we create a perfect combination focusing on conservation and disaster resilience while also offering a unique local experience.


Dapeng New Area Committee of Shenzhen Planning and Natural Resouces Bureau


Shenzhen, China






18 sq km


Mott Macdonald

Design team

Andrew Wilkinson, Chong Wang, Chuhan Zhang, Liam Mouritz, Jordan Soriot, Andi An, Yunxin Du, Yiwen Tang, Poppy Wu

Xichong’s beach lifeguards were once trained by their Australian counterparts. Our plan draws on that spirit of support and capacity building – things that make a community stronger and more resilient.

Mapping the site’s habitats and ecosystems (L-R): mountain forest, village woodland, wetland, coast and forest shelter.
  • 2021 AILA National Landscape Architecture Award (International)
  • 2021 IFLA APR Outstanding Award Unbuilt Projects: Disaster Response

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