1/22/2011

Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan

I commented Levent Ozler's "Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan" on dexigner and for those who are among my friends on facebook you may have already read it because it has been published on my facebook page, too. I recommend to read Levent Ozler's post on this master plan for detailed information on Langfang Eco-Smart Master Plan.
Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan can be the Asian version, or response, to Chicago smart-grid city. As I wrote last night, existing cities cannot afford a scrap/build new green cities program. While Asia and Middle-East are facing drastic urbanization and taking advantage of shifting into sustainability, it is not possible for existing cities to imitate these Asian and middle-eastern eco-cities. Doing with existing building stock appears to be the solution the most adaptable to adopt sustainable development agenda.
Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan. Originally appears on dexigner.

While some cities of the West like Chicago are facing a population decrease, Langfang is growing in population. It used to be an agricultural hub of 50,000 in the mid-20th century. Now its population is about 800,000. This city of Langfang, located between Beijing and Tianjin, is concerning with massive transformation. The completion of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed  rail line will stop in Langfang, which calls for a renovation of this city. Instead of scraping and rebuilding Langfang, the city has drawn a master plan, the eco-smart city master plan, which contains interesting points that Levente Olzer has enumerated. Woods Bagot's San Francisco studio, as the architect for the planning team led by HOK and CW Group, participated to the conception of this master plan. This master plan's purpose is to set a strategy for shifting Langfang city into an eco-smart city. The core element of this plan is "preservation".  Langfang is a new example of articulation of sustainability and preservation.
Eco-Smart City Master Plan. Originally appeared on dexigner.


Langfang (Hebei province) is located between Beijing and Tianjin with 800,000 inhabitants. It used to be an agricultural hub of 50,000 in the mid-century. This city like many cities in China is facing issues including suburban sprawl, degrading building stock, transit problems such as a lack of 'smart technology', declining water quality and quantity and land subsidence. The master plan seeks to restore the city biodiversity while shifting into smart-sustainable city. Like Chicago, for the master plan designers the most sustainable building is the existing building. Like Chicago, Langfang's purpose is to become one of the most liveable places in China.
Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan. Originally appeared on dexigner.

Taking advantage of the completion of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line that will stop in Langfang, the eco-smart city master plan articulates three axes: intensification of existing development patterns, preservation of the surrounding agricultural land and integration of ecological systems. That is,  as HOK mentions: achieving water balance through greenbelt wetlands and aquifer recharge halting land subsidence, introduction green and blue fingers into the urban core, suturing ruptures in the urban fabric caused by the rail track and capturing water, 'slow' transit-oriented neighborhoods and a finer grid of walkable streets to promote social sustainability, a high energy cluster that captures waste heat to supplement geothermal sources, encouraging higher densities for more compact, mixed-use developments toward population maximum, incremental growth strategies that allow the city evolve through market forces, smart grid and real-time measurement of resources and infrastructure performance for supply optimization, distinct character to support economic investment, economic focus of education and health to sustain generations of residents, retention of local food production, farmland and model villages for artisanal organic export and tourism.
Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan. Originally appeared on dexigner.

This agenda can be summed up in three elements: a city center transportation hub, a northern gateway cultural corridor and an extensive wetland and aquifer system. The creation of the 366-hectare park will help for an ecological restoration of the city. The extensive wetland and aquifer system will play an important role for this ecological restoration with the distribution of a network of green corridors and "blueways" throughout the city. It will consist of an integrated landscape and water features and form connective, multi-functioning infrastructure for harvesting water. Transit system will be connected to living infrastructures and compact development with the aim of creating a pedestrian-scaled, multi-tiered canopy for working and living.
Langfang Eco-Smart City Master Plan. Originally appeared on dexigner.

We do not have much information on how smart technologies will be integrated in this program of construction of these clusters of housings, offices, and other infrastructures, if not: a high energy cluster will be developed to capture waste heat to supplement geothermal sources.

This master plan appears to have good objectives, those of restoring the biodiversity of the city by retrofitting existing components to new ecologically sustainable-smart components, that is connecting agricultural past of Langfang with Langfang as a population growing modern city.
Its content differs with that of Chicago but both master plans highlight the possibility of articulating preservation and sustainability.

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