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China Rail case study

Planning and design: reshaping rail station areas in China by Ying Jin











Image: An artist’s impression of the planned recreation and business district next to the new high-speed rail station in Nanning, southwest China

The project

CSIC’s research on masterplanning and urban design around large rail stations and major public transport hubs has been used by CSIC Industry Partner Chapman Taylor (Shanghai) and Guangxi Hualan Planning & Design Group (Nanning, China) around Nanning high-speed railway station. Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, has just been connected by high-speed rail to the Guangzhou-Hong Kong mega city, which is expected to transform its economy.


This collaboration and ongoing project (which started in 2012) has contributed to the design of a new development zone around the high-speed rail station. CSIC’s approach provides a novel model for station area planning, breaking the conventional mould of isolating the station from commercial, institutional and housing development. 

The masterplan to develop the station plaza and new Central Business District (CBD) around the station, features CSIC’s concepts of infrastructure integration and seamless travel to benefit passengers and generate new commercial value from the infrastructure investment. The Hualan Group is planning a provincial research proposal to utilise the expertise from CSIC in ongoing station area planning and design in 2015.

Impact and benefits

CSIC’s masterplanning and urban design analytical tools:

•     lead to more efficient use of valuable land resources

•     enable better capture of land value increases in future infrastructure investment

•     help to establish a new business model that integrates transport and property investments







Cities & infrastructure systems

“China has in the past five years built more than 18,000km of high-speed rail lines. Another 10,000km of high-speed rail lines are under construction or in advanced stages of planning. However, with few exceptions, rail stations are poorly integrated with the existing city and future master plans. It is crucial that new planning and design concepts are introduced to China, and we have enjoyed working with CSIC, using their research to influence real planning and design decisions.”

Lei Hua, Managing Director of Chapman Taylor (Shanghai)