This proposal accepts 3 facts.
A) Urban sprawl* is happening and it is continuously growing everywhere in a large scale from 25 years ago. The urban sprawl is not a problem itself, but it contains several challenges that urge to be tackled: everything is more distant, what means people spend more time in daily migrations; it also implicates more car dependency and more pollution to be produced with it. All these issues are easily solved with accurate public transportation schemes. However, if the cities grow in a disorganized way, there is no rule to implement this scheme. Our point here is to organize the urban sprawl, rather than to fight over it.
B) There’s neither a way to predict accurately the cities’ evolution in terms of footprint and population, nor to block them into a “small-mid size city” state.
In this situation of unpredictability, to design a future city is useless. We propose to design a flexible city system, for a future we don’t know.
C) In the contemporary (and future) world, cities are limitless. That’s why our system focuses on 3.14 km2 area (as a “sample” area) but it’s extensible to the Yilong region – it’s an intercity system.
In order to organize the sprawl, we assume the water line as the driving source for urban development. If we can do it we conduct the urban extension throw a linear organization (instead of a “blot” random extension). This linear organization determines the path line for the main intercity public transportation system, then complemented by secondary perpendicular lines. At the same time, considering the terrain level is roughly constant in the water front areas, this line is able to incorporate comfortable and flat running and cycle paths connecting the different urban areas.
It’s not a futuristic idea. On the contrary, at this point we assume it’s a return to the ancestral way to create towns – close to the water, where the topography is softer, the agricultural soil is better and its irrigation is easier. Even being ancestral, this strategy could be the key, not just for the transportation scheme but also for the very urgent and present-day problem of the cities’ feeding. Assuming the rupture of old limits between countryside and cities, nature and building, the agricultural production to feed the urban areas doesn’t need to be placed outside of them. They could be mixed, reducing the time, the cost and the pollution associated to the transportation between the plantation fields and their final products´ destination. At the same time, these agricultural areas may serve also as public-use green spaces (as public agricultural parks), within the cities.
Within this strategy we propose a system that works properly in 3 different future scenarios – low, medium and high density occupation – composed by:
– a line of urban extension through the Liuyang River, connecting the Lutun Community with Wantunzhen city;
– a public transportation train system corresponding to this line;
– a grid of 100 m2 per inhabitant (it changes per scenario) of agricultural spaces, each 3 km in this line extension; these spaces will work as public spaces, functioning also as recreational green parks and train stations;
This system is flexible and adaptive over time to the quantity of people who are using it. The linear transportation scheme and its perpendicular complements can easily be adapted to different densities of population we may have in those areas: the transportation scheme can be transformed from a green walking park to an autonomous, driverless bus; the skeleton construction system allows us to nearly independently upgrade the existing green agricultural towers. The agricultural grids can be vertically extended according to the populational growing, ensuring the self-sufficiency of the urban space in terms of green-food products and overlapping the recommended minimum surface per inhabitant of public green space.
* meaning the enlargement of the cities’ footprint including extend areas with low-density population.
COMPETITION: Yilong Futuristic City International Design Competition
TYPE: urban planning
LOCATION: Yilong, China
PROJECT LEADER: Samuel Gonçalves