FROM THE AIA:
Son Tra Peninsula is located about 8 kilometers northeast of the city of Da Nang, in Central Vietnam. Projecting out into the South China Sea, the peninsula is approximately 60 square kilometers and sits about 700 meters above sea level.
Son Tra is connected with Da Nang via the longest suspension cable bridge in Vietnam, the Thuan Phuoc Bridge, which was opened in 2009. This connection to the city has improved accessibility, but it has also brought development interest that threatens the environmental health of the area, especially because Son Tra lacks a comprehensive plan to guide future development.
The Son Tra Peninsula Strategic Vision Plan outlines a range of master planning strategies to elevate the area as an eco-tourism destination while protecting its unique natural assets. The plan champions this territory as one to be enhanced, rather than exploited; it calls for the creation of a protected status for the ‘”mountain-island,” and it establishes clear “no build” zones at altitudes above 100 meters while suggesting locations where development may enhance economic opportunities without affecting the environment and natural beauty. Based on a slope analysis, the plan identifies opportunities for development that minimize large-scale cutting into the peninsula’s hillsides and coastline. The visual impact of development was also considered, and compact areas of potential growth were identified within valleys and coves along the coast, where development can be concealed.
The plan promotes higher density mixed-use development in a city that is beginning to sprawl into valuable natural areas; it advocates for more sustainable transportation, including car park zones for visitors, electric “island shuttles,” and walking and biking trails. The plan also creates opportunities for more activity at the waterfront, and it calls for a destination at the mountain peak, perhaps a panoramic observation area accessed via a cable car.
For more information on the 2014 AIA Honor Awards, please visit http://www.aia.org/practicing/awards/2014/regional-urban-design/son-tra-peninsula/