Su Dongpo, an influential 11th century scholar and philosopher, was one of the most authoritative personalities of China’s Song Dynasty. Today his teachings, poetry, and art are preserved at the Su Dongpo Academy at Zhonghe, near the city of Danzhou on Hainan island.
Unfortunately, even with all of the academy’s heritage and historical value, it was one of the least visited tourist attractions on the island. At a time when China was seeking ways to celebrate its profound history and culture, the Hainan Provincial Government enlisted EDG to create a master plan and tourism strategy that would guide the future development of the area around the academy, transforming it into a more active and attractive urban destination. Following this guidance, EDG led a study of the region and concluded that the academy, site location, and other nearby historical structures were well situated to forge an integrated resort destination, in this case Hainan’s first “Culturally Integrated Resort and Leisure City.”
The first step was to develop an urban plan that would knit together the Zhonghe ancient town, Su Dongpo Academy, historic Fuxing Street, and the surrounding mangrove wetlands into a singular tourism strategy. This effort culminated in the formation of the Su Dongpo Island, an iconic man-made island that would incorporate the new Su Dongpo Academy as well as several facilities that pay tribute to the 11th century scholar such as a ‘Living Poetry Wall’ along a new central canal system. Additional elements include an evening show projected along the reconstructed ancient wall as well as a Museum and Experience Center, Artist Residence Program, Poets Walk Park, and “Live Hainan”, a related Eco Golf Course/Club. The project’s positioning was so appealing that CCTV eventually adopted the EDG-created tag line for the project: “More Hainan, the New West.”