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Kuwait is planning a 1,600-hectare development that will provide residential units, jobs, and amenities for 100,000 residents. Developed by URB, the ambitious project aims to promote a sustainable lifestyle with high standards of living, yet a low impact on the environment. The masterplan for the smart city is designed to optimize density and amenities distribution to create a walkable city, while also optimizing the green space ratio. This will help mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and the urban heat island effect. The green transportation systems and dedicated cycling tracks will make this a car-free city, apart from a ring road that allows for limited vehicular access. The city also promotes a circular economy that aims to provide food and energy security for the residents.

"The heart of this project is the unique resilient landscape, which is multifunctional and designed to promote health, wellbeing & biodiversity. The landscape is the social glue to the entire city, which will enable a vibrant neighborhood while connecting residents to all amenities within minutes. The landscape promotes a variety of habitats for wildlife." - Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB

The holistic approach addresses the three key pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental conditions. Design decisions such as orientation, density, and form were taken into consideration from the early stages of the design to reduce the energy demand with a relatively low financial investment. The project was optimized with various digital tools, such as energy modeling and microclimate analysis.

The landscape of the city integrates engineered natural areas that provide a variety of habitats for wildlife, rainwater collection, and flood mitigation. By integrating various environments, the city becomes resilient and capable of maintaining its level of quality of life despite shocks and stressors to its environment. An integrated mobility strategy includes limited access to vehicles, thus contributing to creating a healthy urban environment for its residents.

XZero aims to become a productive city, incorporating multiple farming methods such as community gardens, bio-domes, aquaponics, vertical farms, and biosaline agriculture. Beyond creating an accessible food source, urban farming is promoted as a social engagement and educational tool. The city will also include the first scalable food-energy-water & waste farms, known as FEW+W Nexus farms. To achieve its sustainability goals, the city integrates technology and information communication technologies into its hard and soft infrastructures.

At a building level, sensors play a key role. Indoor lighting and temperature can automatically be adjusted based on various parameters. These include the number of occupants in a room, the time of day as well as exterior weather and light conditions. All systems are aimed at reducing consumption while not lowering the standard of living.

The “smart city” concept is an approach many urban planners take to respond to the complexity of urban environments and the need to create more sustainable solutions and livable cities. The idea often relies on integrating various technologies to achieve these goals. While enjoying some popularity, the idea has recently come under scrutiny, following concerns regarding the lack of privacy and the rigid infrastructures that leave little room for adaptation and accommodation. One recent counter-example is Toronto, which is stepping back from the smart city bandwagon and is rethinking its approach to creating sustainable and livable neighborhoods.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Maria-Cristina Florian

Quelle/Source: Arch Daily, 15.09.2022

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