A City Where Everything Is a 15 Minute Walk Away
- OCT 26, 2012
Another day, another proposal for a new Chinese city. The 1.3 square-kilometer Great City, designed byAdrian Smith and Gordon Gill will 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.
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 percent of the land for parks and green spaces, dedicating 60 percent to construction, and saving the remaining 25 percent for roads and walkways.
As for environmental factors, Great City will certainly live up to its name. The development is expected to use 48 percent less energy and 58 percent less water than a comparable town its size. It should also produce 89 percent less landfill waste and 60 percent 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.”
All images courtesy of AS + GG.
This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.