The new town population of Xingyang will grow by the hundreds of thousands in a matter of years and required a plan that would address their needs for growth as well as the ability to attract new residents. The master plan was created as a reaction to, and as a reflection of, the differing systems found on the site: water quantity/quality, natural formations, extant and projected population densities, circulation routes and usage districts. In total, over 30,000,000 square meters of building were proposed over the 36 kilometer long corridor.

Working with SWA Group Los Angeles and LimnoTech hydrological engineers, the team crafted a series of seven "reaches," each with their own adaptive morphology and use, over the length of the master plan. The team based its approach on the results of a comprehensive analysis of the region's natural systems, its foundation being that the provision of water quantity and quality to Xingyang would guide all major decisions. After quantifying available water supplies from nearby sources (a watershed, a massive transnational canal and filtered runoff from coal mines), sustainable consumptive populations and densities for each of the seven reaches were proposed. Water would be both naturally and mechanically filtered and routed through the master plan as necessary to support the districts, as well as to provide a leisure and entertainment resource.

Natural systems also prompted a more detailed architectural and planning strategy within the districts. Density and land use plans, which are typically derived from a methodology that demarcates block patterns across a plat through planometric means, were hence lifted into comprehensive sectional development, creating a continuous undulating fabric within the development limits, its hills and valleys determined by the data received from hydrological research, geographic and land form analysis. Flowing through valleys, plateaus, shallow canyons and flat lands, the pattern-fabric acted as a projective unifying feature for the corridor, mitigating both pragmatic necessities as well as those necessitated by the river valley's features.