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Car-Free 'Great City,' Pop. 80,000, to Rise in Rural China

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Adding to some rather unconventional, newly proposed ideas of what cities of the future might look like—floating amoebas, or bonkers manmade islands, or communities founded on Ikea principles—is Great City, an 80,000-person set to break ground outside Chengdu, China. Yet another manmade structure rising from a field in the middle of China, the complex is designed to "resolve the relationship between high-density urban living and sustainable development," according to the Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. "A dense vertical city that acknowledges and in fact embraces the surrounding landscape," the 800-acre site will be divided into surrounding agricultural "buffer" (60 percent) consisting of farms, natural water sources, and open space, and an urbanized core (40 percent) consisting of parks, buildings, and roads. Not that there's a need for cars, of course: it will take 10 minutes to walk from one end of the city center to another, fulfilling Great City's goal of consuming 48 percent less energy and 58 less water than other similarly sized developments. Mass transit will connect the green enclave to Chengdu, and the whole thing is "envisioned as a prototype or model city to be replicated in other locations throughout the country," according to the release from the architects, who also happen to be behind Saudi Arabia's very, very, very tall Kingdom Tower.

· Great City by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture [Dezeen]