In 2020, Urban Wilderness participated in the “Shandong Mines Park” Reviving Mines Competition, organised by Non Architecture. The brief asked participants to explore the potential to transform the barren mines in the Zichuan Region of Shandong into a landscape of value by restoring decades of ecological and spatial damage.
The project aims to develop a landscape concept with the potential to transform the disused mines into eco-cultural sanctuaries, promoting ecotourism and environmental stewardship. The lifeblood of the concept would see the creation of spaces designed for health and well-being, situated within easy access of existing settlements. These design sites, referred to as ‘Cascades from Heaven’, focus on the restorative power of water as a means to reconnect people back to themselves, providing space away from the ordinary.
A ‘re-wilding’ approach to landscape rejuvenation was also explored in order to restore the scarred land to a state prior to plagioclimax; linking each ‘Cascade from Heaven’ with an expanding perimeter of deciduous forest and meadows as well as enhancing biodiversity opportunities within the landscape. The transition between settlement and wilderness would also create a space for sustainable agricultural industry and local artisans to thrive.