“Great City” Plan Puts Pedestrians First

great city china

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, dedicated to sustainable architecture, has imagined and designed city so compact that nothing is more than a 15-minute walk away.

Dubbed “Great City,” the prototype suggests a Chinese city that might be built in 2021 on the outskirts of Chengdu, a city in the southwest of Asia.

Taking up just 1.3 square miles and 320 acres, Great City could be home to 80,000 people. The project proposes that 15 per cent of the total acreage would be devoted to urban parks and green areas, 60 per cent to buildings and 25 per cent to roads and walkways. To design the world’s first pedestrian-only city, the architects considered a massive transit centre where public transport would be concentrated.

great city china

The plan includes commercial, residential and office spaces, light manufacturing and a medical campus which would provide health services to residents as well as a larger regional and perhaps even national client base. The city’s medical campus is also intended to address the needs of the growing number of young married couples in China, many of whom live in combined households with extended families that may include two sets of grandparents.

The city’s perimeter is defined by a clear edge, from which the city centre can be reached on foot within 10 minutes. An extended recreation system connects the pedestrian network to trails that run through the green buffer and surrounding farmland. The infrastructure and public realm networks include electric shuttles, plazas, parks and links to the recreation system. As a pedestrian-first city, only half of the road area is allocated to motorized vehicles.

great city china

All residential units will be within a two-minute walk of a public park.

Great City not only facilitates pedestrian movement, it would also have efficient mechanisms for electricity and water consumption. For example, by installing solar panels, electricity costs could be reduced by up to 48 per cent over a conventionally-designed city, while water costs could be reduced by 58 per cent due to the efficient water system’s design. It would make use of “seasonal energy storage,” which would allow the city to store energy during the summer and use it for heating and hot water in winter.

Great City also projects to produce 89 per cent less waste diverted to landfill sites and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent.

great city china

The key to making Great City a success lies in its urban planning. It is designed so that citizens could move between any two locations in minutes or less by foot. With this alternative, cars would not be necessary, and people would use public transport and ride bicycles on the bike paths included throughout the plan.

The project is expected to be completed by 2021 with a goal of housing about 30,000 families.

“Great City will demonstrate that high-density living doesn’t have to be polluted and alienated from nature,” said Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture 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.”

great city china

By Mercedes Martty
All Images Credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.
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