What if you could live in a city, without most of the problems of a city? Everything within walkable distance, no cars (so less grime), a green space larger than the city itself, access to mass transit, plenty of plazas and parks, serious energy and water conservation, and more. It sounds amazing, but I think I'd be lonely…Not to get all Carrie Bradshaw up in here, but I love my city. It keeps me company. Sure, I have darling friends, but the city is my constant companion: it's constantly fascinating, constantly surprising. And yes, it's definitely a love/hate relationship. I don't like the traffic and the noise and the filth and the close quarters, and sometimes riding the bus is the worst thing ever. But there are Japanese stationery stores and Middle Eastern grocery stores, Indian ice cream shops, amazing corner stores, museums both grand and quirky, ancient mysterious shops where I'm not entirely sure what — if anything — is for sale, parklets, street art, weird architectural juxtapositions, and thrift stores galore. Even in the New World that is California, there's history, and all the cool odd combinations that have built up over that history.
But I love energy conservation, and I love when people are able to say, "The way we've been living is NOT sustainable. Time to try something new." And then they try to make something new and beautiful. So is it possible for a brand-new city to have personality as well as sustainability? Probably not, but that's the wonderful thing about filling a perfect-on-paper city with people: we'll make it interesting and cool and strange and messy and ours. It will just take a little time.
Great City is designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture near Chengdu, China. It will be home to 80,000 people, and is scheduled to be completed in 8 years. Dezeen Magazine can tell you all the high-tech details better than I ever could. What do you think? Would you want to live there?