CHINA is planning to build a Covid-proof ‘smart city’ in the wake of the deadly global pandemic which has killed nearly 900,000 people.
The new state-of-the-art flagship metropolis – near Beijing – will be specially built so it can combat future outbreaks.
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China is planning to build a new Covid-proof ‘smart city’ called Xiong’an[/caption]
Architects working on Xiong’an have designed apartment blocks which allow residents to live in style during lockdowns.
Each flat will come with a large balcony to allow access to the outdoors and huge communal work areas to allow social distancing.
Vegetable gardens, greenhouses and solar power will help families stay self-sufficient in the event of large-scale disruptions to food supplies.
There will even be “drone-friendly” terraces to allow vital deliveries of much-needed supplies during quarantine.
While cars will be allowed in certain areas, many streets will be for pedestrians and cyclists only.
The new flagship metropolis will be built on the outskirts of Beijing[/caption]
Barcelona-based Guallart Architects won the contest to design the project[/caption]
Public transport and electric taxis will be on call to help people reduce locals reliance on personal vehicles.
A special “neighbourhood app” will send residents alerts about lockdowns and other health information.
Barcelona-based Guallart Architects won the contest to design the project hailed by President Xi Jinping as “a new standard in the post-Covid era”.
“We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened,” said the firm’s founder Vicente Guallart.
“Our proposal stems from the need to provide solutions to the various crises that are taking place, in order to create a new urban life based in the circular bio-economy,” he said.
As cities worldwide imposed lockdowns to contain the coronavirus, authorities from Amsterdam to Sydney unveiled measures to improve sustainability, food security and mobility, with more green spaces, bicycle lanes and new technologies.
Each flat will come with a large balcony to allow access to the outdoors[/caption]
There will be huge communal areas to allow social distancing[/caption]
In China, tech giant Tencent announced plans for a “smart city” that uses technology to put people and the environment first, a model it said is particularly relevant in the aftermath of the coronavirus.
President Xi unveiled plans in 2017 to create the Xiong’an New Area, about 80 miles southwest of Beijing, as an urban innovation zone.
The competition for the project was held when employees of Guallart Architects were in lockdown in Spain, and that influenced the design “completely”, Guallart told Reuters.
“We wanted to make a manifesto of those things that we thought were important during lockdown and in the future,” said Guallart, a former chief architect of the city of Barcelona.
There will also be ‘drone-friendly’ terraces to allow vital deliveries [/caption]
The neighbourhood will also include vital greenhouses and gardens[/caption]
“If homes allow tele-work and tele-education, have flexible spaces on large terraces, and cities can grow food on the roofs or print objects in their neighbourhoods, we will be more prepared for the crises of the future,” he said.
Past epidemics also led to significant changes in city planning and urban infrastructure, from sewage systems and public transit to housing regulations.
This time around, fears of contagion may also create “elitist enclaves that are somewhat self-sufficient”, said Tony Matthews, a senior lecturer in urban and environmental planning at Australia’s Griffith University.
“People who can afford it will often pay to insulate themselves,” he said, pointing to gated communities as an example.
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“Post-COVID enclaves with security, private medical facilities and on-site food production may emerge.”
For Guallart, the coronavirus is an opportunity to promote new urban formats focused on ecology.
“Cities have seen what they are capable of if they face a challenge, and therefore decisions related to climate change and its impact on the urban model, on the design of buildings, on mobility, should be made immediately,” he said.