URB, an urban design firm based in the United Arab Emirates, has recently unveiled its designs for a 1,600-hectare sustainable city in Southern Kuwait. It is called XZERO and will serve as a new model for sustainable cities in the future.
XZERO aims to provide a net-zero carbon lifestyle for approximately 100,000 residents, spread out over 30,000 homes. The city is holistically designed and features environmental, social and economic sustainability. The master plan incorporates several active and passive design strategies for an eco-friendly design. Active strategies include the advanced technology that is integrated into the city to ensure high standards of living while minimizing carbon footprint. These strategies are highlighted to the residents and serve as an educational tool that is embedded in their environment.
Meanwhile, passive strategies are a key feature of XZERO and form an integral part of mitigating the site’s warm, desert climate. One such example of this is the blue and green infrastructure dispersed throughout the city. Blue infrastructure refers to water features such as ponds and streams. Similarly, green infrastructure denotes green spaces like parks and forests.
In their designs, URB has controlled the density of the urban fabric to maximize the green space ratio. This is done by incorporating green spaces into urban heat islands, such as residential areas, for natural cooling. Not only does this allow for gorgeous views, but it also encourages interaction among residents and their natural environment.
The landscape is the core of the project and is designed to be resilient and adapted to the local climate. In doing so, it enhances well-being and biodiversity in the area. The landscaping is integrated with the wadis, which are valleys that turn into streams during the rainy season. This meticulously designed environment allows people to interact in lush, natural spaces that concurrently support the local flora and fauna of the region.
To connect residents to different spaces, the city plan incorporates primary and secondary walking networks, which are shaded and connected to other eco-friendly transport systems. These include cycling and the use of electric golf cart buggies to travel to different parts of the city.
The city will encourage a green circular economy throughout its agricultural, energy and tourism industries. Each industry has a hub that provides environmentally-friendly solutions for inhabitants’ needs. For example, the landscaping incorporates urban farming methods to produce food for the city’s inhabitants. These include community and vertical gardens, aquaponics and bio-saline agriculture to maximize blue infrastructure and bio-domes for more controlled cultivation environments. There will also be a green-tech hub to support food cultivation to enforce appropriate waste management and produce and track energy consumption. The city also will rely entirely on renewable energy sources to sustain its power demands.
Beyond serving XZERO’s residents, the city will promote sustainable tourism through eco-friendly resorts and lodges. The city also incorporates specially-designed edutainment spaces like the nature conservation center and utility park to engage and educate visitors.
Images via URB