New ecosuburb prototype to be built in Chengdu
Plans have been completed for a "a self-sustaining, environmentally sensitive" suburban city to be built within the next eight years adjacent to Chengdu, announced architecture firm Smith and Gill, who have been chosen to design the project.
The city is meant to be a new take on suburbs, with a dense, vertically oriented landscape meant to respond to the suburban sprawl that is now passe among urban planners.
With a total area of 1.3 square kilometers, the city is designed so that any destination can be reached on foot within 15 minutes, parks can be reached within two minutes from any residence, and the city center in 10 minutes from the perimeter. Developers expect the city to house 80,000 residents and create 40,000 jobs.
Some sources have seemingly erroneously described the design as "car-less" and the "first pedestrian-only city," but it appears that the city will be merely car-light, encouraging walking and public transit as primary transportation means. Only half of the roads will be designated for motor-vehicle use, and roadspace accounts for only one quarter of the overall space allocation. Mass transit will link the Great City to Chengdu.
Most of the space will be occupied by buildings—commercial, residential, office, light manufacturing, and a medical campus—and 15 percent is meant to be used for parks.
According to an article published in the Sichuan Daily last year, the property price will not exceed RMB10,000 per square meter.
The city is designed to be much more energy efficient than existing urban environments with similar capacities, utilizing technology such as capturing and storing excess summer heat to use in the winter.
The Chengdu Tianfu District Great City (成都天府区立体城) is set to be constructed between Wan'an Town Dongshan High-speed Road in Shuangliu County and Lushan Dadao. Design work is expected to begin later this year. No expected start date for construction was announced.
Although critics speculate that Great City might end up a ghost town, like a number of China's other notable planned cities (Ordos in Inner Mongolia being perhaps the most infamous), the designers view the design as a model that can be replicated around the country.
The Great City concept was announced in local media last year. Computer-generated images of the city released then can be seen here. At that time, it was said that the Sichuan-based agriculture feed and dairy giant New Hope Group would be partners on the project, perhaps explaining the focus on agriculture. The Smith and Gill press release mentions only Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co., Ltd. (方万通集团), however.
Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill have also designed the Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, the Zifeng Tower in Nanjing, as well as buildings in Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Jinan, Yixing, Hong Kong, and the kilometer-tall Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The firm also recently was chosen to design the Qintai International Tower in Wuhan.
Photos courtesy of Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill