Nurturing nature in a mega-city: a decadal assessment of the Beijing Olympic Forest Park

Hong Wu, Yizhao Yang, Jie Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this article, we showcase the Beijing Olympic Forest Park (BOFP), a large-scale urban park developed as part of the green infrastructure to support the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The BOFP represents an example of using strategically-placed and well-designed public open spaces to relieve stresses from high-density living in compact urban areas. Drawing from first-hand information from leading planners and designers, we present the ideas rooted in Chinese culture and environmental aesthetics that have inspired the overall layout of the park. Anchoring itself at the northern end of the city’s central axis, BOFP takes on the Chinese Shan-Shui Landscape layout and integrates into its design many elements of cultural significance. We then explain the park’s design elements inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted and his sons and modern construction technologies informed by ecological science. Through an extensive review of empirical studies, we evaluate the park’s performance in social and environmental aspects and identify areas in need of improvements. We suggest that the BOFP manifests a successful fusion of quintessence from both the western and eastern landscape fields. It illustrates an application of a culturally informed ecological approach to park siting, planning, and design, which has sup-ported the park’s meaningful integration into its urban context and amplified its contributions to the city. Evidence cumulated through decadal evaluations of the park’s performance has revealed the accomplishments of this transformative place-making approach for both nature and people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-108
Number of pages18
JournalSocio-Ecological Practice Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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