Ningbo, China

This new theme park, part of an urban development in Ningbo, China, opened in February 2006 with a master plan and design created by Jack Rouse Associates. The HarborLand Theme Park is commissioned and overseen by the NETD, a government organization charged with creating a 39.6-square-kilometer development zone in the bustling port city of Ningbo.

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Located on the East China Sea in the province of Zhejiang, Ningbo is one of China’s coastal cities opened to the outside world via the country’s second largest harbor. The city has been an important center of foreign trade since ancient times and is home to the 7,000-year-old “Hemudu” civilization.

As a first step in the master planning and design process, Jack Rouse Associates created a fairy tale story around which the park is being developed. The story is inspired by the Phoenix, which is a mythological firebird and a symbol of happiness in Chinese culture. The park, coincidentally, is located at the base of Ningbo’s Phoenix Mountain.