Many may perceive China as a crowded, polluted country, but that legacy is changing. Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture just unveiled its master plan for Chengdu Tianfu District Great City, a self-sustaining satellite city that offers a solution to the problems of overburdened infrastructure and high pollution levels that assail many of China’s major urban centers.
The project envisions a city that avoids the high energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with suburban sprawl. According to the architects, Great City will be developed by Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co., Ltd. over the next eight years. When completed, it will be home to about 30,000 families totaling 80,000 people.
A look at an aerial blueprint of Great City reveals the secret to achieving its low consumption, low pollution lifestyle: the distance from any location in the city to any other location will be a 15 minute walk, all but eliminating the need for most automobiles. The city is built around a regional transit hub, which connects Great City to Chengdu and surrounding areas via mass transit, although it’s expected that most people will be able to work inside the development itself.
Thanks to green building techniques and use of renewable energy technology, Smith + Gordon expect that Great City will use 48 percent less energy and 58 percent less water than a conventional development with a similar population size. It will also produce 89 percent less landfill waste and generate 60 percent less carbon dioxide.
But the architects realize that building a truly green city isn’t only about choosing eco-friendly materials or installing solar panels – it’s also about planning. The 320-acre urbanized area will be surrounded by a 480-acre buffer landscape, whose natural topography—including valleys and bodies of water—will be integrated into the city itself. Within the city, 15 percent of the land will reserved for parks and green space, while 60 percent will be earmarked for construction. The remaining 25 percent will be devoted to infrastructure, roads and pedestrian streets.
“We’ve designed this project as a dense vertical city that acknowledges and in fact embraces the surrounding landscape—a city whose residents will live in harmony with nature rather than in opposition to it,” remarked Gordon Gill. “Great City will demonstrate that high-density living doesn’t have to be polluted and alienated from nature. 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.”