Urban Designer, Architect and Researcher

Self-Sufficient City for Post-Corona China 1st Prize

1st Prize in the International Restricted Competition 

  • In colaboration with: Guallart Architects



This Project is part of a new initiative to build a new city near Beijing, which will define new ecological and urban principles for urban planning in China and in the world.
These four blocks are developed as an urban structure that brings together a community of people who will develop a life of the 21st century, and who must face challenges related to the fight for life and climate, typical of our time.




The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the future. We have learned that if we focus on finding solutions to the challenges, we can achieve exceptional results. Cities need to reinvent themselves in order to develop an Eco-civilization as stated by chairman Xi. For this reason, new principles for urban development in China must be introduced:


The proposal follows the principles of rational and harmonious urban planning with city life, creating vibrant streets, full of life and commerce, and large central courtyards with gardens, orchards and citizen facilities. The passages that cross the patios allow creating pedestrian circuits, to reinforce the sense of community.



Anatomy of the city

The anatomy of the city is a diagram which represents all of the elements that make up the structure of any city of the world, indepen- dently of its culture or degree of development. This drawing reveals the importance of inte-grating, under a single management structu- re, all of the aspects that go into the operation and physical transformation of the city, which have up to now been divided into separate ca- tegories. In this way, bringing together environment, in- frastructures, urban planning, housing, and in- formation technologies into a single project, bringing in the collaboration of biologists, engineers, architects and computer technicians, has provided for an integral and efficient res- ponse to the challenges of the current city, and facing new challenges like urban renaturalisati- on, energy self-sufficiency, electric mobility or social innovation. The urban anatomy also allo- ws for recognising the importance of informa- tion and the interaction between people and people with their physical environment, so that they can develop new ways of designing the city with a more open, transparent and human character.

BIO CITY: the new urban paradigm

By 2020 we have to overcome the model of an industrial city that consumes resources from abroad, destroys nature, produces emissions and creates highly polluted air that makes human life very difficult. Therefore, the Biocity model must be developed, which grows in harmony with Nature, which develops the Bioeconomy, which produces resources locally, which does not pollute the air. City like forest, buildings like Trees.

Industrial chinese City: Imports goods and produces trash and contamination. This is the model that many advanced cities are abandoning.

Chinese Bio city: It is based in the Circular economy. It’s a zero emissions city that produces its energy and use renewable materials.


The production of energy occurs in plants outside the cities that often burn fossil fuels for power and in turn, increase CO2 emissions. Renewable energy systems used inside the Neighborhood can produce less contamination and allow the system to be decentralized. Citizens could have the possibility of owning and managing their resources by producing and storing energy above and below their houses. Energy is produced locally by renewable means so the dependecy on import is lowered to the minimum. This also allows that all the population has electricity access and is able to store energy for lower production periods. Added to that, energy consumption per capita is lowered with the efficient urban fabric composition for easier grid management and intelligent consumption.




Urban communities should have mobile applications that allow them to better organize their lives, taking advantage of the physical contact between people given their physical proximity. The design of the apps must be related to the possibilities offered by the buildings.

LOCKDOWN ALERT This feature allows you to manage during your life in the lockdown period, organizing purchases for all the community, and reporting health issues
KID SHARING This feature allows sharing resources between neighbors, aimed at sharing books or toys between children
FOOD PRODUCTION This feature allow to know when you have produce some specific type of food, and it's ready to buy in the local fresh food market
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES This feature allow to organize events, championships, concerts and other cultural activities, by connecting people with similar interest
ECOLOGICAL PERFORMANCE This feature allow to know the general performance of the building, how much energy is producing and self-consuming
SHARED EDUCATION This feature will allow to connect people with some specific knowledge or ability with people from any age interested in learning any matter, for educational purpose or for leisure.




Neighbourhood is minimizing dependence on automobiles and promotes pedestrian culture by providing a flexible shared streets and paths network in close proximity. Streets inside the urban blocks are only pedestrian and bicycle (slow mobility) oriented and act as accesses for loading and unloading purposes.

Tofoster the use of bikes and other slow mobility vehicles, the proposed mobility strategies for the master plan promotes the implementation of shared paths crossing the urban blocks. Wide bicycle/pedestrian paths for leisure activities in naturalistic areas. This allows family groups to walk and ride in comfort, they also allow more interaction between people using the space. Multiple parking places and garages for the slow mobility vehicles: on the streets, in the courtyards and inside each building and a block. Sharing community and city bikes availabe throughout the neighbourhood.


Mix use at 3 levels

Cities are defined as places were human can Live, Work and Play. But now, we want that all urban activities would happen within the urban blocks. That’s why we propose a system approach:

Food market and restuarant

If we produce food in the urban blcoks, we should have fresh food shops on the ground floor. We will have shops for fresh products that will be partially produced in the district. The market is also a meeting point for the citizens, in special for elder people that have an slow perception of time and life, and they appreciate the good food as part of Chinese culture and traditions.



Self-sufficient timber buildings

If steel was the new building material for buildings in the 19th century, and concrete was it in the 20th century, wood will be in the 21st century. Wood is one of the few renewable materials that can be used to make building structures. There is a large amount of wood in the world produced from renewable systems, which can allow many buildings, especially those made of wood, to be built using Cross laminated timber. Our project proposes to build it entirely using CLT and creating a new apradigma for housing blocks in China.


Multi-purpose apartments

COVID-19 has changed our perception about housing for ever. Many people were in lockdown during at least a month. The houses have become a place to live, work, educate, and lose their fat. And therefore, beyond digital connectivity, spaces must adapt to many possible functions.



Chinese housing has been developped following very standard models in the oast decades. But the emergence of a new young urban class, hase created the need for new housing typologies that are more flexible, and offer new form of development. We propose several typologies of housing for one person, a family with kid, familiy with two kids os space for teleworking, and even familiy with kid and and elder relative.



These urban blocks allow accommodation designed for students and young people as well as for elderly people who live alone, but who want to have common services. In this way, these types of rental apartments, generally for temporary use, are oriented east and west, compared to permanent homes that are oriented North-South.



On the top floor of the buildings, villas with a small outdoor garden can be installed, which are built following the shape of the Green houses, with solar panels on their roofs. These houses are dedicated to people with higher incomes, who have an older family or who dedicate part of their time to remote work. It allows to have a model of life close to the rural, but inside the city.



Terraces allow to develop of the Extended Paratment concept. The covid-19 has shown the importance of having a private space in the house, which allows access to the sun and air, in times of confinement. For this reason, we propose that a new characteristic of homes in China is the existence of a large terrace, where they can eat, play, work and rest, as an extension of traditional apparements. The terrace also acts as a thermal mattress in summer and winter.


6 types of urban agriculture

Urban agriculture is the new upcoming urban phenomenon. If we can produce food near where we live, why don’t we? Food security is another of the great principles of urban resilience. To make this possible, there are multiple technologies that we can include in our project, which allow it.




Digital Fabrication allows you to manufacture almost anything, anywhere on the planet. For this to be possible, you have to have the appropriate machinery, and participate in open source knowledge networks where you can obtain plans and designs.

Our project includes a Fab Lab, as part of the housing extension, where people can make things or buy things made by others. Digital manufacturing will drive the ecological and distributed reindustrialization of our cities.



Telecommuting and distributed work is already a reality. Therefore, our blocks allow you to work inside homes, in co-working space, in small urban industries, in office spaces and business incubators, and in spaces for traditional commerce.


The ecological city of the future will separate the activities by sectors but will mix them. The new life, self-sufficient more than working in large companies that allow us to have a salary to buy the things we need to live, will allow us to produce almost anything (food, energy, things) in the proximity of our home, mixing the first, second and third sector.



Guallart Architects: Vicente Guallart, Firas Safieddine, Elisabet Fabrega, Honorata Grzesikowska, Yimeng Wei