In the southwestern province of China lies the city of Chengdu, home to the largest building in the world and one of the busiest international airports. It’s also the site of a rare treasure — the giant panda, which has teetered on extinction for decades.
Many of the pandas found in zoos around the world are first bred at the Chengdu Panda Base, located just outside the downtown core. The base attracts roughly 3.5 million visitors per year, though Chengdu has big plans to expand this outreach.
The government recently held an international competition to solicit ideas for a „Panda Capital.“ Last week, the global design firm Sasaki was declared the winner. Their plan includes three new development sites: a lakeside village, wildlife research center, and massive park linked to public transit.
The new development — which includes the expansion of the existing panda base — will be 110 times the size of Disneyland, but just a small percentage of the city’s overall size. Take a look at what the capital could look like when it’s finished.
The city hopes to preserve and protect the world’s 1,800 remaining giant pandas.
Giant pandas in the wild often give birth to twins, in which case the mother will abandon one of her cubs. Researchers at the Chengdu Panda Base have stepped in to help mothers raise their twins — or, in some cases, triplets.
These efforts are critical to both the species and Chengdu’s economic growth.
„The giant panda has become the strongest ambassador and icon for the city of Chengdu,“ said Tao Zhang, a principal at Sasaki. „It is an integral part of the city’s identity, culture, and economy.“
Preserving the giant panda’s habitat could also protect other endangered wildlife.
Species like the snub-nosed monkey and red panda rely on the giant panda’s forest habitat to survive.
The first site, the Longquanshan Panda Village, will be a „gateway into the city.“
The village will be located near Chengdu’s second international airport, which is supposed to be fully operational by 2030.
Zhang wouldn’t give a timeline for Sasaki’s projects, which will undergo multiple phases.
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Source: Business insider