With a booming population, and unique juxtaposition of dense urban centers just miles from remote rural areas, it's no wonder that city planners are slightly obsessed with China. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) has been tasked with building China's newest pop-up city, called Meixi Lake in Changsha, China. As you may suspect from its name, the firm's recently released Master Plan for the city is built around a central lake and canal system, and seeks to be a standard for integrated urban innovation all over the world.
According to KPF designers assigned to the Meixi Lake project, this pop-up city will be “an experiment in future city planning.” Focused around a 40 hectare, man-made lake—rather than a downtown business or residential district—Meixi’s layout will facilitate more efficient transportation and use of resources while also keeping a connection with nature at the heart of the city.
The lake provides for boat transport linkages, creates conditions for edge gardens, provides a habitat for fish which encourages recreational fishing, and makes places for cultural venues, reports Arch Daily. Around the circular heart of this water body is wrapped the mixed use CBD. Here, high rise building districts are connected by a pedestrian tram street, reducing the need for car use in the city center.
A series of canals will branch out from the lake, winding their way through the city like spokes on a bike wheel. “These radial canals extend into the heart of the distinct residential communities that surround the mixed‐use CBD, said KPF Design Principal Trent Tesch. At the end of each of these radial canals is a vibrant town center which is meant to provide identity and services to the community.”
Each community cluster will house about 10,000 people, and will include its own village center featuring a school, shopping area, and other public functions. These neighborhoods are separated from one another by green buffers which accommodate exercise fields and natural landscape zones. The architecture of each “village” will be different, but material and formal coherence will be encouraged within each zone so as to create a sense of place.
Other environmental strategies include collective gray and black water systems, distributed energy plants, and urban agriculture. A river flood plane is turned into a linear park which includes recreational areas, micro farms, and residential rows.