Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Great City and the new city model

The Great City and the new city model 

by Popper Dávid

A new city is planned to be built from scratch in China. The main goal of the project would be an environmentally friendly city model that also ensures all the services of modern city life. This article examines the emerging questions related this project.

In October 2012, a lot of online press website has dealt with the news, that in China a new city is planned to be built from scratch. The project is named Great City and it aims to enable the popular city life, the environmental protection and being near-natural at the same time.

According to the proposal the city would be built in the middle of China, next to the city of Chengdu. Many refer the new town as a car-free city, because due to the plans, although cars won’t be forbidden, the residents won’t need it, since everything will be accessible in 15 minutes with environmentally friendly public transport and short distances. The bunch of greenery let people to be in the nature in two minutes from any part of the city.

The city will be built-up the way, that the location of the buildings will allow the most efficient usage of wind energy. Thanks to the environmentally friendly solutions the Great City will use 48% less energy and 59% less water and will produce 89% less garbage than other cities with similar density of population.

In a regional and urban development point of view not the environmentally friendly deserves attention but the questions which occurs from the case of a city built-up from scratch. The model is destined to be (one-to-one) applicable and can be built in elsewhere in China. So the question arises, if there might be such as functioning city model, which could be built anywhere in the world to provide a more environmental living. And if it exists, in which size could it be materialized? The Great City however has been plant as a town for 80000 people, so the infrastructure and the urban structure were evolved correspondingly.

As can be seen on the plan of the city, its structure is profoundly planned. Although it’s first of all environmentally friendly, basic conceptions of city planning can be detected. The farmland that can be used for agricultural activities is placed on the edge of the city. This area connects with the city centre through developed electric transport lines. In the city centre are concentrated all the services that an inhabitant could need: education, medical care, entertainment services etc. The residential area will be between the city centre and the rural land. This structure is in harmony with the consequences of the Von Thünen model.

The question emerges whether a system caused by human decisions made during a long period can be artificially planned. The procedure is in this case reverse than normally. So far the theories of city planning used hypotheses and models to explain the structure of existing cities. Now a whole new city is planned to be built from scratch using the theoretical and empirical results of former researches of city planning. Since there is a given structure of the city, the change of it in the future is slightly possible. The question will be that a city built based on models could fit to all the expectations of the inhabitants. This can be answered after the first years of the Great City.

If the Great City functions well, it could be considered whether this city model can be realised in greater size. Can we build an environmentally friendly city which ensures all the needed services and functions for one million inhabitants? Could be realised such a project with modern infrastructure so that it is still payable for the further inhabitants? Is there enough demand for it or is it just the game of some rich investors and enthusiastic designers?

As living near the nature and the protection of the environment are popular subjects nowadays, in my opinion there would be demand for such projects. But under such economic circumstances only the most privileged people could afford to start such investments. Because of the narrow supply the real estate prices would be very high in these new cities. As consequences of them I assume that this new city model won’t be used widespread in the following years, not even if the prototype is successful.


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