China to Debut World's First 'Airport' for Birds
Leave it to China — a nation where everything is larger, longer, taller and generally more intense — to announce plans to build an airport that’s for birds.
Described as the word’s first-ever bird airport, the proposed Lingang Bird Sanctuary in the northern coastal city of Tianjin is, of course, not an actual airport. Rather, it’s a sprawling wetland preserve specifically designed to accommodate hundreds — even thousands — of daily takeoffs and landings by birds traveling along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
The idea is that over 50 species of migratory waterbirds, some endangered, will stop for an extended spell at the protected sanctuary and feed to their four-chambered hearts’ content before continuing on their long journey along the flyway. One of nine major global migratory flyways, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway encompasses 22 different countries including China, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Russia and the United States (just Alaska).
Located on a former landfill site, the 61-hectare (150-acre) airport is also open to human travellers. Half a million visitors are expected annually. There will be a green-roofed education and research centre called the Water Pavilion, a series of raised “observation pods” and an extensive network of scenic walking and cycling paths and trails totalling just over 4 miles.
“The proposed Bird Airport will be a globally significant sanctuary for endangered migratory bird species, while providing new green lungs for the city of Tianjin," Adrian McGregor of Australian landscape architecture firm McGregor Coxall explained to Dezeen of the design.
Coxall recently won a competition seeking proposals for a “flagship ecological wetland precinct” — an oversized eco-park, essentially. Frequently blanketed in smog so thick that it has shut down real airports, Tianjin is a city — China’s fourth most populous — that would certainly benefit from a new pair of robust green lungs.
Buffered by a 49-acre forest geared to protect the wetland sanctuary from encroaching urban development, the avian airport will include a trio of different habitats — mudflats, a reed zone and a lake-bound island with shallow rapids — each meant to accommodate different bird species.
If all goes as planned, construction on McGregor Coxall’s ambitious landfill-turned-bird sanctuary design will commence later this year with a completion date slated for 2018.
Source : Mother Nature Network
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