China is building a new ‘COVID-proof’ smart city with a self-sufficient neighbourhood designed to make people’s life easier in the event of pandemic outbreaks.
The living quarter is part of the blueprint for the Xiong’an New Area, a megacity near Beijing that dwarfs Greater London in size.
Its high-tech facilities, such as larger balconies, shared 3-D printers and communal greenhouses, will allow residents to live more comfortably in case of future lockdowns.
The complex in the province of Hebei is set to consist of wooden apartment blocks, rooftop farms and renewable energy, according to its chief architect.
It also features drone-friendly terraces and ample space to cater to the residents’ needs when they work from home.
Barcelona-based Guallart Architects last month won a contest to design the community in Xiong’an, which is promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping as ‘a new standard in the post-COVID era’ that can also be applied elsewhere.
The proposal will enable residents to produce resources locally, and provide all amenities ‘even in moments of confinement’, according to the firm.
‘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,’ 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.
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 corona virus.