Innovation That Matters

The development would offer a mix of apartments, shops and offices, all designed to accommodate multi-multigenerational living | Photo source Guallart Architects

A concept city designed to withstand pandemics

Architecture & Design

A Spanish architecture firm has proposed a self-sufficient city designed to help people get through extended lockdowns


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Spotted: Barcelona-based Guallart Architects has designed a concept city that could help people to weather the next viral outbreak. Their Self-Sufficient City design recently won a competition run by the local government of Xiong’an New Area, in Hebei province, China, to design new urban concept. The winning entry would be able to produce its own energy and food.

The Guallart team that developed the design were all working from home during Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, and they included aspects they thought would make our lives better in the situation. This includes greenhouses on many of the buildings for growing food and small-scale “co-working digital factories” that would use 3D-printing and rapid prototyping to supply replacements for missing or broken items in the event of supply chain disruption.

The development would offer a mix of apartments, shops and offices, all designed to accommodate multi-multigenerational living. Every household would have access to their own outdoor space and would come with space for remote working and 5G connectivity. Solar panels on sloping roofs would provide electricity and streets would be prioritised for pedestrians, cyclists and electric taxis, while drones would be used for deliveries.

The Self-Sufficient City was also designed to allow rainwater runoff from streets to be collected for reuse, and with green areas that have sufficient soil depth for planting vegetables – as well as everything a community needs to develop a thriving circular economy. According to Guallart Architects, their proposal, “stems from the need to provide solutions to the various crises that are taking place in our planet at the same time, in order to create a new urban life, based on the circular bio-economy, that will empower cities and communities.”

If the world is going to mitigate the effect of global warming, we are all going to have to live more sustainably. Which is why we at Springwise have seen an explosion in the use of design and architecture to deliver more sustainable cities and buildings. Some of the innovations we have seen recently include office space converted to an AI-managed vertical indoor farm and a design for a self-sufficient floating house.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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