city – 8,2 million inhabitants, 9,816 km2
Meishan Island – 70,000 inhabitants (250,000 planned), 38 km2

121.96°E, 29.95°N, 220 km south of Shanghai

subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average rainfall: 1749.8 mm and
an annual average temperature range from 1 to 32℃


Meishan Island (Urban Living Laboratory in Ningbo), located in the eastern part of Ningbo, was a rural island used for fishing, aquaculture and salty production ten years ago. During the last decade, the island has undergone heavy urbanisation involving dams, bridges, roads, buildings, parks and port construction. Urbanisation has been made possible through a special investment support programme (estimated: EUR2.5 billion) and dedicated policies from national to district level. The area of Meishan has increased from 27 km2 to 38 km2 due to land reclamation. Population has increased from 6,000 to 70,000, with plans to reach 250,000 residents within a few years and to attract a highly skilled work force and their families.

The announced blue print for Meishan is the creation of Ningbo International Marine Ecology Tech-City (NIMETC) with emphasis on environmental sustainability with high investment on green and blue infrastructures, however, there is a lack of nature-based knowledge and solutions at the urban scale for the design, implementation and management of those infrastructures, including assessment of changes of ecosystem services within the new city.

Ningbo has built two dams at either end of the strait between Meishan island and the mainland with the aim to turn the yellow strait into a blue lagoon as a shelter for ships, boats, and barges during typhoons. Also, an artificial 2 km beach is under construction along the strait.



Heavy urbanisation based on construction and use of grey infrastructure from past heavy industries, soil sealing, housing and transport infrastructures pose a tremendous pressure on the original ecosystem and its services.

The planned urbanisation on the island will need to address coastal resilience, water quality and soil salinisation. Typhoons often cause sea waves to flood the island coast with serious impacts on safety of residents and the harbour. The colour of sea water around the island is yellow rather than blue due to high concentration of suspended particles from ocean currents, constraining the provision of cultural ecosystem services of aquatic ecosystems such as recreational, aesthetic, cognitive and spiritual activities.

Soil salinisation caused by natural processes and production of salt has occurred on Meishan Island, and results in significant difficulty in making green space and increasing biodiversity for this new city.


city – 8,2 million inhabitants, 9,816 km2
Meishan Island – 70,000 inhabitants (250,000 planned), 38 km2


121.96°E, 29.95°N, 220 km south of Shanghai


subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average rainfall: 1749.8 mm and
an annual average temperature range from 1 to 32℃


Monitoring of ecological, social and economic impacts of dams and the artificial beach, modelling and recommendations for alleviating associated negative impacts, i.e. through the planting of macrophytes to increase coastal resilience or to mimic a sand dune habitat.

Establishment of new green-blue infrastructure on Meishan Island through soil treatment with biochar and use of freshwater sediments for the regeneration of new soils, soil improvement measures to enable native vegetation to prosper and regulate pressures on soil systems (i.e. pollution and salinisation) and enhance biodiversity


  • The integration of policy guides and business models with technical measures of NBS
  • Participation of stakeholders (i.e. public authorities, research institutions, private sector) in participatory boards for co-designing, co-implementing and co-managing the NBS related urban infrastructures
  • Implementing the educational outreach of NBS knowledge through the International Programme Office for Urban Health and Wellbeing hosted by IUE-CAS


  • Co-designed protocols for integrating NBS in the design of urban blue/green spaces together with local communities
  • Business models (i.e. public-private partnership models) for implementing and managing cost-efficient urban blue/green infrastructure
  • NBS procedures and datasets at a technical level from the ULLs which will be able to be shared beyond Meishan

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