Everyone with enough money to throw at land and development seems to be trying their hand at a ‘city of the future’ or ‘smart city’.
Elsewhere, people are abandoning land altogether for floating cities billed as utopian escapes from the rule of law.
China has a few smart cities in the works, most notably Tencent’s project which, when it’s completed, will be roughly the size of Monaco.
Few cities, however, are being built with the specific purpose of allowing life to continue in the event of a pandemic.
Enter Xiong’an, a flagship new metropolis outside Beijing, which will contain apartment blocks specifically designed to allow residents to continue to function as ‘normal’ during a future pandemic.
The Telegraph is calling it the first ‘COVID-proof’ city.
These blocks will contain flats equipped with a large balcony to allow access to the outdoors, vegetable gardens, greenhouses, and rooftop solar power, all of which will help residents survive if food chains and electricity supplies are affected.
It sounds more like they’re planning for a zombie apocalypse.
Then again, considering everything that 2o20 has thrown at us thus far, I wouldn’t rule that out.
The project was conceptualised by Barcelona-based Guallart Architects, to allow residents to “thrive even in moments of confinement”, marking “a new style in post-COVID urban design”.
“We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened,” said 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.”
Chinese president Xi Jinping is behind the design, which also includes high-speed rail links and 5G broadband to make working from home easier. There will also be offices, shops, a daycare centre, a swimming pool, and a fire station.
“We wanted to make a manifesto of those things that we thought were important during lockdown and in the future,” [Mr Guallart] said.
“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.”
They’re planning on dropping up to $500 billion on the project over the next couple of years.
This isn’t the first time that pandemics have played a role in urban design. In the 1800s, the cholera outbreak changed the way that water was piped through American cities.
We’ve had to work around load shedding for the past few months, so, even though the city hasn’t been built yet, I can’t help feeling a little jealous. There’s nothing like watching the funds drain out of your bank account as you plough through phone data so that you can keep going when the internet switches off.
I’d kill for a few solar panels and 5G.
I hope the architects of our smart cities are taking notes.
[imagesource: Matthias Balk / Getty Images] As of last night's statistics, 14 802 806 S...
[imagesource:here] It is nice and easy to grab a random fruit juice and down it for tha...
[imagesource:here] Life on a beautiful island known for its beaches, palm trees, and bu...
[imagesource: iStock] Many of the compliments I see being passed around on social media...
[imagesource: AP] One day in 2016, 23-year-old Christopher Rivas looked up at the clear...