Since opening at the end of 2012, this park has become a vital amenity in a city that faced enormous
environmental pressures. A landscape intervention has improved the quality of life for the 1.8m residents and the image of this polluted industrial city. 

Because of a history of intensive industry – a 2007 World Bank Report classified Datong as one of the world’s 20 most polluted cities – the 6.7km2 Wenying Lake Park had to meet an environmental challenge head on.

Wenying Lake was drying up as a result of heavy urbanisation nearby. The ecosystem was significantly degraded due to water scarcity and quality. The proposal to divert water from northern China’s Yellow River system helped solve the water supply issue and rejuvenate the ecosystem. 

The area between the perimeter parkway and the existing levee was a depression where the topography is now transformed into retention basins, ponds and rain gardens to receive storm water. They function as small reservoirs to support the volume of the lake. Water from the diverted Yellow River replenishes the ponds and basins, helping maintain water health. 

A series of outdoor ‘galleries’ are co-designed with local artists and the lake edge is comprised of plazas, an esplanade and a double deck structure. Designed in a dynamic form, the double deck edge tucks into the lakeside and intertwines with the water, from enclosure to openness, providing stimulating viewpoints onto the lake. 

Landscape architect: AECOM