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This building's for the birds


The Sanlihe Greenway in Qian'an City, Hebei Province, used to be a polluted land fill and sewage drainage facility along the foul Sanlihe River, a tributary of the Lu'an River.

Today land and water have been cleaned up, replanted and landscaped as an ecosystem; now there are flowers in bloom, lush greenery and clean, gurgling water.

The 13-kilometer-long Sanli River is considered the "mother river" of Qian'an. Before the 1970s, the river bed was covered with pebbles and springs bubbled up; people used to go fishing along its banks.

But as the area developed and industry expanded, the river was badly polluted by sewage and industrial discharge. The Lu'an River's water quality declined sharply and the Sanlihe River dried up, its channel blocked by waste.

In 2007 the government decided to reclaim and revive the area through the Sanlihe Ecological Corridor project, which includes three sections: upstream water source, the city section in the middle and a wetland park downstream.

"The river is like a paradise for locals who spent their childhood catching fish and insects along the river," says Shi Chun, a landscape architect with Turenscape, a Beijing-based design institute that carried out the project.

"We aim to revive the feeling of nature and make the river an area of joy," he says.

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