“Great City” To Be China’s First Car-Free Metropolis
*All renderings © smithgill <http://smithgill.com/
Another day, another proposal for a new Chinese city. The 1.3
square-kilometer Great City, designed byAdrian Smith and Gordon Gill
be a massive new development that is completely sustainable, affordable,
and, most strikingly, car-less. The masterplan, which has been planned for
80,000 people, will be built around a massive transit hub at its center,
with all destinations to be within a few minutes walk, a planning
innovation that would make “Great City” China’s (and the world’s?) first
pedestrian-only city. Read
Before drawing up blueprints, Smith and Gill had to find the perfect
setting for this new, 320-acre green city. They discovered a plot outside
the city of Chengdu with plenty of buffer landscape including forests,
valleys, and bodies of water to integrate into the city. After delineating
local farm land for its preservation, the designers meticulously drafted
plans that partitioned the site into several zones, reserving 15% of the
land for parks and green spaces, dedicating 60% to construction, and saving
the remaining 25% for roads and walkways.
As for environmental factors, Great City will certainly live up to its
name. The development is expected to use 48% less energy and 58% less water
than a comparable town its size. It should also produce 89% less landfill
waste and 60% less carbon dioxide. In addition to these features, the city
will employ “seasonal energy storage” which can carry over waste summer
heat and convert it to power for winter heating and hot water.
The key to Great City’s green success, of course, is not just solar panels
and parks, but also its urban planning. The distance between any location
in the hyper-dense city to another will be only a 15 minute walk (or less).
This eliminates the need for cars, as the town is also built around a mass
transit hub that connects to Chengdu and surrounding areas in minutes. The
surrounding green buffer is laden with pedestrian and bike paths that weave
in and out of the landscape and through the city core.
The project, expected to be finished by 2021, will hopefully become home to
about 30,000 families, totaling 80,000 people. “Great City will demonstrate
that high-density living doesn’t have to be polluted and alienated from
nature,” says AS+GG partner Gordon Gill, “Everything within the built
environment of Great City is considered to enhance the quality of life of
its residents. Quite simply, it offers a great place to live, work and
raise a family.”
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