Page 1

huairou the roots of the water

giorgio cucut janneke eggink jie he Architectural Association school landscape urbanism 2011-2012

director: Eva Castro studio master: Alfredo Ramirez Eduardo Rico 12th of September 2012








BEIJING REGION AND THE NEW SATELLITE CITIES / the location of the six project districts in the surrounding area of the China capital city.


China’s economic boom, combined with migration from the countryside to the cities, is boosting a high-speed urbanism that produces new cities in the shortest imaginable time, changing the faces of older towns. This directional urbanisation, propelled from the coastal zones into the countryside, has brought the smallest villages face to face with the phenomenon of globalisation – and its foreign capital and generic architecture. The course will focus on China’s ambitions to build 400 new cities by the year 2020, as the basis for its brief. We will engage opportunistically with the generation of ‘proto-strategies’ for new large-scale agglomerations as a means of critically addressing the phenomenon of mass-produced urban sprawl. Our test bed will be growing sprawl of Beijing as capital of an emerging global superpower


what does it mean a better city


the machinic spine

4 3 the new city

FROM THE DISTRICT TO THE CITY / the journey through the different scales of the project.

the urban environment

better cities, better l ife

1. learning from Shanghai essay: urban-rural links

what does it mean a better city? 2.reading the territory 3.the chinese answers beijing’s water crisis

what does it mean a better city?

4.a machining approach

strategy ... pag 13 ... pag 15

city? ... pag 23 ... pag 27 ... pag 31


... pag 41 essay: landscape Infrastructure ... pag 43 5. the market strategy ... pag 51 technical research 1: waste water treatment ... pag 55 technical research 2: techniques for food production ... pag 63

applying the strategy

testing the research

6.the metabolic masterplan focus: sharing the infrastructures

the machinic spine essay: the mith of the multy-layered city

... pag 71 ... pag 75 ... pag 83

7. a condensed city focus: the growth of the spine

the new city 8. building the cityscape

... pag 87 ... pag 93 ... pag 109

focus: urban suggestions

the urban environment 9. the urban spaces

... pag 113 ... pag 138

10. moments in time focus: extremes scenarios

a glance to the district technical report

... pag 143 ... pag 167 ... pag 175 ... pag 177 ... pag 183

“... a city is always in a state of transition. The problem of a planner is to shape that transition towards a desired end. � Ludwig Hilberseimer


better city make better life?

city better life


SHANGHAI EXPO 2010 / pavilions: China, Denmark, United Kingdom, Spain, Geramany, United Emirates.


Learning from Shanghai

“Better cities, better life” was the official slogan of the Shanghai Expo in 2010. The design of better cities would make a better life, in term of working quality and standards. Countries from all around the world were invited to design pavilions in order to explain their view and their proposals for the project of the future city. This worldwide presence was also the opportunity for China to have a direct contact with new urban models and prototypes for an immediate replication on its territory. Most of these pavilions, indeed, has been moved to a new architectonic park as a lasting memory for the next generations. China is investing on the present in order to understand how will appear its future. Final numbers: 73 million of total visitors. 1 million of visitors from all around the world, 2


million from the eastern countries and 70 million from China. This number corresponds to the Communist Party members so it is possible to understand that the real aim of the Expo was to show to the Chinese population the new project for China. Looking to the different pavilions, the exposition was an incredible exaltation of the urban life, it was an invitation to urbanization. Moreover, the proper translation of the original Chinese slogan would be “cities make better life” and it is extremely clear that the comparison was with the countryside. China, indeed, is ready to another huge urban transformation and in the next 10-15 years millions of farmers will become workers in the new cities. China is proposing to the world a manufacturing future.

Urban-Rural Links

urbanization of the rural areas

janneke eggink

“Though propagating massive utopian schemes and extreme projects at the periphery, the Central Communist Party (CCP) centres its trust in the future on the growing middle class. The ideal ‘harmonious society’ policies projected on to the future is carried out with each producer turned consumer.” (Rong 2010) The Shanghai expo of 2010 shows the reality, an exaggeration of the urban life: a dream of a better life in the city. The official slogan of the expo “better city better life” is a declaration of intentions for the new identity of the new cities in China. By inviting a majority of European architects to design the pavilions, the government showed an effort to

“manipulate” the citizens in their perception. It is a way to sell the image of the city to their inhabitants and to hasten this process of urbanisation. “In fact the utopian city has become the collective Chinese dream in the past 15 years, through the promotional propaganda and mega-events of central and local administration aimed at rapid and vast-scale economic developments, especially in building a new society through brand-new or revamped cites.” (Rong 2010) By this the government tries to change China from a productionorientated country into a welfareorientated one. However, the reality of the facts proves that this idea could be an extremely hazardous dream.


This essay would focus on the rapid urbanism and how new cities could be fabricated from existing cultural and social habitats of Chinese cities.

China’s contemporary situation China has always been an agricultural society. Until the 20th century the rural areas were still performing a most important role for the economy. “The Chinese city was firstly an administrative centre on which consumption depended, with incomes being drawn from farming the land. (…) Economically speaking there were more people who lived off agriculture in the countryside, thus rural areas played an important role in the provision of food and income tax. They contributed to the steadiness and security of the nation.” (Liauw 2010) The Chinese cities relayed on the countryside. This character is still strongly visible in the contemporary China. Most of the visitors, indeed, will have a memory of an agricultural country after a journey outside the metropolitan areas. This character is evidently different to the “proposal” for the future cities. By this process of urbanisation over the country ‘vast’ and ‘slick’ cities are arriving, most of the time copying designs out of European cities without a precise identity. “The fabric of the slick city is stretched apart; the expansion and fragmentation of the city

accelerates. Urban and suburban begin to blur (Mars 2010).” A vast urban area with millions of houses is waiting for the millions of farmers who are planned to be relocated and forced to start a city livelihood. The assumption is that a rural– urban shift will transform poor farmers into industrial and office workers, raising their incomes and creating a massive consumer class. They will get a better life with new apartments and new equipments. But this relocation leads to social and cultural problems to the people who have been farmers for generations with no skills and knowledge of other kind. In this way, the urban and rural relation would disappear and the production of food will be depleted.

the challenges for the future “The increased numbers of people and cities go hand in hand with a greater exploitation of the world’s limited resources.” (Mostafavi 2010) China has a lack of food production and the Northern part of the country is struck with drought. The balance between the city and the countryside is important to keep the environmental system functioning. There is a need to start to think as one system that works as a machine and maintains the balance of production and consumption. “The more robust role of landscape architecture in sustainability does not materialize unless we start to think about cities – the much larger


aggregation of resources found in the habitats we create for ourselves. It is when cities are thought of as living organisms, rather than collections of buildings, that the landscape becomes a major player in discussions about sustainability.” (Schwartz 2010) Xinhua News Agency writes that the members of China’s top advisory body are aware of the importance of building new countryside. “It is also important to sustain rapid economic and social development and to build an all-round welloff society, said Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). ‘We should rely on the concept of scientific development to balance rural and urban development and to improve the ability of innovating industrial technologies,’ said Jia.” (Agency 2006) The mechanic process of social, agriculture and urban conditions have to be investigated. By building new cities we have to think how they would relate to their surroundings. How do they relate to the environmental problems as the lack of water and the food production? Moreover, how is possible to relate the existing character of the area with the implementation of larger urban environments? Huairou New City is one of the thirteen new cities that China is planning to build around the metropolitan city Beijing. Huairou is a city that faces social and cultural transformation and it

is a perfect example to show the government decision to transform the district from an agricultural economy into an industrial one. The new proposal neglects the existing fabric of agricultural lands and the existing consumption of the city through the fields. The touristic and multiple-core proposal does not respect the current situation of the district and the identity of the citizens. What would be a better way to structure a new city taking into account the respect of the existing character and people?

Wanzhuang Eco City: an alternative way Arup’s proposal for the Wanzhuang Eco City addresses the problems of an agricultural characterized area. Arup’s urban designers proposed an integrated urban agriculture and food system. “The aim is that the unique cultural character and heritage, agricultural base, and fifteen existing villages of Wanzhuang (with 30.000 current residents) will not be eroded or lost, but rather enhanced through sympathetic development.” (Arup 2010) By relating agriculture production with the city, the developers hope that the successful development of Wanzhuang will offer a new way to address China’s urbanrural gap and provide a model for harmonious urbanization. The Arup Eco City is designed to embed horticultural production in the city and provide jobs for displaced farmers, preserving and enhancing

local knowledge and farming skills. The city will retain 3,500 hectares of farming land and use a model which provides a cluster of villages that share a town centre, and will be connected to the Beijing–Tianjin corridor. (…) We will live in “a network of decentralised mixed-use settlements, or clusters connected by high speed public transport and broadband communications.” (Scott 2011) The proposal by ARUP solves the problem of preserving the agriculture character by proposing a better economic value for the countryside. “Ninety-nine percent of fresh fruit and vegetables required by the community will be produced in the city.” (Scott 2011) By preserving the fields and livelihood of existing citizens, the new city will be build upon the existing landscape. “We must build constituencies of users devoted to the places we build, and recognize that the public landscape is one of the most fragile components of our cities, but perhaps the most critical; without it, natural and social systems cannot function.” (Schwartz 2010) By creating a close economical and social system, which functions like a machine we can start to give the landscape and the relation of urban and rural areas value again. Inside the economical and social sequence of the urbanrural-urban, the city will become an important element to sustain and make the agriculture more economical; the agriculture will produce for the city and maintain social and cultural balance. The wastewater

produced in the city will irrigate the fields, while the production of the countryside will feed the city. Matching this resource flow retains production without further groundwater depletion. In ‘Ecological Urbanism’ Martha Schwartz points out the important that our profession will focus more on the social aspects of a new development: “It is my belief that our profession is more surely rooted in society and culture than in technology and science.” (Schwartz 2010) By creating a social balance the production orientated society can slowly transform into a welfare economy. The first step in the Arup’s proposal for Wanzhuang is the clustering of the existing villages in order to create the first core for the new urban development. In this way, the city would be low dense and formed by a constellation of little town spreads in the territory and surrounded by the fields. However, a denser concentration of the new city retains the production value of the existing agriculture patterns and does not fragment fields. The compact development allows for the conservation of important productive land and agricultural heritage. “Strategies that provide unambiguous support for retention of agricultural land on the urban/ rural interface can help provide certainty to farmers (and financial institutions) that investment in the agricultural value of their land is worthwhile.” (Jenny Donovan 2011) Besides the maintenance of productivity a centralised city will


create a higher contrast between the city and the countryside. The city doesn’t try to blur into the rural but uses the same functions and structure. We should not try to create an ‘eco’- city with open spaces that rule the city. This will result in a city existing of suburbs, vast cities without a real centre to live. “The highest and best use of our training as landscape architects lies in our ability to create dense population centers that people will choose over living in our vast and wasteful suburbs.” (Schwartz 2010)

the house and the garden / the city and the countryside In conclusion, there should not be hesitation to plant dense new cities in agricultural areas. By a strategic urbanisation the agricultural pattern would be respected and the productivity of the area would remain and even strengthened. The new city should implement the existing infrastructural system embedded in the country side while maintaining its identity of a dense urban core. Furthermore it would be beneficial to study the social connections between this new city and the existing area in order to determine the location of new city growth. “Landscape architects must now learn to pay attention not only to natural systems but to human systems if we are to build sustainable cities that will both be light on the land and create conditions that offer good quality of life across socioeconomic

boundaries.” (Schwartz 2010) How can the new urban and rural conditions be balanced and can start to function as an organism? In the Chinese tradition the house and the garden were strictly connected: the house needed the garden in the same way as the garden needed the house. It would be possible to extend this idea to the landscape scale considering the essential link between the city and the countryside and the influences between them. “The goal is to achieve true balance – socially economically, and environmentally. I embrace the term “landscape urbanism,” because, finally, these two often diametrically opposed terms stand side-by-side. (Schwartz 2010)

what does

the chinese masterplan

it mean a better city?


THE “BACK GARDEN” OF BEIJING total area: 2100km2 89% mountains 69% forests

huairou new town

HUAIROU DISTRICT / location and relation with Beijing. Main features and distances from the other surrounding main cities.

population: 373.000


Reading the Territory

What does it mean a better city for China? Beijing and the construction of 13 new cities is the perfect occasion to see which is its approach and its solutions. Huairou District is located in the north area of the Beijing Region (50 km apart from Beijing urban area, 30 km from capital airport and 170 km from Tianjin port), between the Mongolian mountains and the Beijing plan. Most of the surface of this territory is characterized by a hilly and mountainous landscape, rich of water sources and forests. The Labagoumen forest is indeed the largest secondary forest of North China. On the slopes of the hills there are three large water reservoir while the largest one, the Huairou reservoir, is the third most important in Beijing as collector for drinking water. The annual water source of this district amount of 0,86 billion m3, accounting for one fifth of the total one of Beijing city. But it has to be noticed that due to the drought of the last decades, a large percentage of these water streams nowadays are dry or reduced for a great part of the year. The beauty of this landscape (especially the mountainous north area) and the proximity to the capital city has transformed this district in one of the preferred vacation place for the citizens of Beijing, indeed Huairou is called the “backgarden� of


Beijing. The daily reception of tourism and conference is 30.000 persons, while the annual average is 8.6 million people. The leisure attractions range from the Great Wall tours, to theme parks (Primitive Tribe Park, Yanqi Lake Park, Beijing Huairou International Ski Run, Caribbean Lagoon WaterPark) to several golf courses and picking gardens. Spread along the year there are also many festival season linked to agriculture (Flower admiring festival, Maple admiring festival, Autumn picking festival) and some religious celebrations in the Hongluo Temple. The south-east corner is the only flat area in all Huairou and for this reason it is suited for the development of one of the new satellite cities. Huairou New town will be settled between the large reservoir and the edges of the rural area that characterized all the north plan of Beijing. This area, with its dense network or villages, is easily attacked by the huge urban growth that affects the surrounding territories of the capital city. The substitution of these old urban settlements with new urban clusters (especially gated communities with European style houses or tall condominiums) is the most typical transformation of the Chinese landscape in the last years.


TOPOGRAPHY / the surface variations of the territory and the runoff of the water along the slopes.

WATER BODIES / the three main lakes in the Huairou district. The largest one, the Hauirou Reservoir, is used as resource for the drinking water in Beijing.


huairou old city

RURAL VILLAGES AND IRRIGATION CANAL NETWORK / the presence of the rural villages characterized the entire area and well represent the agicultural identity of this district.

OLD CITY / the location of the old city is on the right side of the Huairou Reservoir and it is completely divided from the countryside by the presence of the railway and the highway.


the Chinese Answer

In order to understand the Chinese proposals for a better city it is very interesting to glance at the Huairou master plan and they way in which it is described. “Huairou is the city is in the forest, the road is in the greening and the housing is in the garden. Build up the first class ecological environment and livable city of the capital Beijing according to the standard of Countrywide Greening Model City. The Huairou District is appraised as the countrywide greening model city, and it will also continue to extend the urban and rural greening and beautification work, and it is convinced that Huairou, the ecological city full of green charm, will have a better future. With increasing tourism sector scale, the auxiliary infrastructure is gradually perfected, and Huairou has become an ideal selection of tourism, leisure and vacation of the vast people of Beijing and the surrounding areas, especially, the tourists in Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, and Inner Mongolia are increasing year after year.” These optimistic slogans underline the purpose to transform Huairou into the capital of conference and tourism leisure resorts. The two main attractor cores in this development will be the Monkey Kingdom theme park (300 hectares for an investment of $ 1,5 billion USD) and the Movie city (the Chinese version of Hollywood). BROKEN MEMORIES / Jannis Kounellis, “unititled”, metal and china, 2010


But this remain a generic description that doesn’t offer a real and interesting answer on the design of a new city in China today. The words “green” and “eco” are used in a unspecific way just to beautify the huge urban growth, trying to render it sustainable and more attractive for new capitals. At this point, for an exhaustive idea of the current situation in the approach for the urban development will be more effective an overview of the cultural transformations that have distinguished China in the recent years. In fact, the cultural counterreformation is in progress. Chinese society was a society where time had stopped and was repeated always the same to himself as a result of the past did not exist. After the years of the Mao cultural revolution with its attempt to erase the past and the cultural heritage, China from twenty years started to understand that the past could exist. They are inventing a past imitating the European civilization that, from the very beginning, it has been developed with the idea of a past and so of a future. In order to conquer the future Chinese have to invent a past. In this way it is easy to understand the crowding of reconstructed Buddhist temples (they are considered ancient because in the Chinese culture if the ancient rules and techniques are used, the building itself would be ancient) or the opening of theme leisure


94 km2

unplanned territory

9 km2

open space

15 km2


9 km2


3 km2 4 km2

commercial offices

8 km2



2030 147 km2

population: - whole area: - city: - rural: - new town:

490.000 400.000 90.000 350.000

urban average density: 0.03 person / m2 urban typologies: - high rise (d: 0.1) - traditional (d: 0.06) - european style villa (d: 0.007)

parks on the recall of traditional ancient fairytales. The recent work of the artist Jannis Kounellis goes in the same direction and perfectly shows this new hybridization of the Chinese culture. He creates a sort of mosaic with the fragments of broken china bowls from the revolution time. These thousand of pieces were collected by the families in all China because they still remembered that past. He says that his work is an “admiring writing for China and very dramatic for the lost of its past�. In the cities the old soviet buildings are camouflaged or replaced with old style decorations in order to re-create the city as the city should have been. The conversion of the new into ancient is due to the will to erase the traces of the recent past that are already obsolete. But they are also replying buildings or parts of cities from different countries during this challenge and attempt for the recover of a lost past. China is not in a post-modern time but it is producing the absolute trans-epochal: the syncresis of the XXI century, not more the Socialism in one country but all the world in one city. Finally, knowing this background, it is possible to return on the Huairou masterplan and its evocative

old city population: 130.000 public service center population: 30.000 movie city population: 55.000 industry city area: 13,5 km2 population: 50.000 logistic base area: 3,1 km2 population: 30.000 manufacturing base population: 50.000

slogans and numbers, noticing that the great issues bounded to the urban development remain unsolved. The main reason is due to their simplistic way to show the city as a final, complete product when all the people will found a new job in a neat new town and crowd will arrive in the leisure parks. But what will happen between the current situation and the final one? What will happen to the thousand of farmers (and their identity) that will see their houses destroyed in the waiting for a better city life? What will happen to the dry rivers that crisscross the territory and in the masterplan are disingenuously showed blue as they were full of water? What will happen to the agricultural area before its conversion into a generic and homogeneous green belt, in the expectation of a subsequent urban development? What will happen to the existing city before its complete replacement?


Beijing’s Water Crisis

Beijing climate characteristics .2.684 yearly average sunlight hours ..11.7° yearly average temperature ...200 frost-free days in a year ....136 to 178 windy days in a year .....2010: 56 sandstorms Beijing is running out of water. Although more than 200 rivers and streams can still be found on official maps of Beijing, the sad reality is that little or no water flows there anymore. Beijing’s springs have disappeared. Dozens of reservoirs built since the 1950s have dried up. Finding a clean source of water anywhere in the city has become impossible. As recently as 30 years ago, Beijing residents regarded groundwater as an inexhaustible resource. Now hydrogeologists warn it too is running out. Beijing’s groundwater table is dropping, water is being pumped out faster than it can be replenished, and more and more groundwater is becoming polluted. Today, more than two-thirds of the municipality’s


total water supply comes from groundwater. The rest is surface water coming from Beijing’s dwindling reservoirs and rivers. The municipality’s two largest reservoirs,Miyun and Guanting, now hold less than ten percent of their original storage capacity and Guanting is so polluted it hasn’t been used as a drinking water source since 1997. This report traces Beijing’s 60-year transformation from relative water abundance to water crisis, and the main policy responses to keep water flowing to China’s capital. Official data indicates that Beijing’s population growth, industrial development, and its expansion of irrigated farmland have driven huge increases in water consumption since 1949. Meanwhile, 25 years of drought and pollution of the city’s reservoirs have contributed to the steady decline in available water resources per person, from about 1,000 cubic metres in 1949 to less than 230 cubic metres in 2007. The report also argues that drought and rapid demand growth aren’t the only factors behind the water crisis. Short-sighted policies since 1949 have degraded Beijing’s


watershed and promoted the over-use of limited water resources. In particular, the political fixation on largescale engineering projects to keep urban taps flowing at little or no cost to consumers meant that consumption was divorced from consequence without price signals to indicate scarcity. Beijing’s policy of guaranteeing water supply to the capital at little or no charge to consumers – even as its rivers and reservoirs were drying up – has wreaked havoc on Beijing farmers and encouraged wasteful consumption by industrial and urban consumers. In the last five years, with Beijing’s surface and groundwater supplies nearing exhaustion, the State Council and Beijing authorities have announced several policies to guarantee an adequate water supply for Beijing during the 2008 Olympics and beyond. The policies include: • ”emergency water transfers” from existing and proposed reservoirs in Hebei province (2008) and the Yangtze River in Hubei province (starting 2010); • restrictions on surface and groundwater use in upstream Hebei province in an effort to increase river flow to Beijing; • extraction of karst groundwater from depths


of 1,000 metres or more from Beijing’s outlying districts. Such policies for taking ever more water and from ever further jurisdictions beyond Beijing may be an emergency measure to ease Beijing’s water shortages and flush out its polluted waterways, but it is not a fundamental solution. Long distance diversion is extraordinarily expensive and environmentally damaging. Even if water is successfully diverted from Hebei province in 2008 and the Yangtze River in 2010, groundwater will continue to be Beijing’s most important water source. The municipality will still need to continue pumping about three billion cubic metres of groundwater annually to keep up with the forecasted growth in demand – that’s 500 million cubic metres more than the annual allowable limit for “safe” extraction of groundwater. With each new project to tap water somewhere else, demand for water only increases, and at an ever greater cost to China’s environment and economy. Whether diverting surface water or digging ever-deeper for groundwater, the underlying solution proposed is like trying to quench thirst by drinking poison.

Probe International Beijing Group, June 2008





Beijing water average available pro capite per year is 1.000 m3 (1949), 230 m3 (2007), while the international guideline is 1000 m3. Decrease in the average yearly precipition: 1999-2008: 428mm 2008-2010: 585mm 2010: 448mm from 2001 the rainfall average per year has fall of 37% Resources of Beijing water: the total water available per year is 3 to 4.12 billion m3 (2007: 3,25). 1-1.67 billion m3 (0.8 2007) 20-30% comes from reservoirs(dropped 90% from 1950 to 2000), 2-2.45 billion m3 (2.45 2007) 70-80% are groundwater(500 million m3 more than the annual allowable limit) These resources are yearly recharged by precipitation (44%) and seepage of surface water (31%).

Use of water in Beijing: total water use: 3.25 billion m3 (2007) estimated supply deficit: 400 million m3 Water consumption by sector: .39% domestic (1.338 million m3) ..38% agriculture (1.322 million m3) ...20% industry (680 million m3) ....3% urban environment (110 million m3) total 3,45 billion m3

.200 million m3 200 Olympics Games ..27 million m3 golf Curses

1950-1993 water to table fall from 4,9m below sea level to 50m below sea level 34

1980-2000: municipal water demand rose from 7 billion cubic meters to 29 billion cubic meters, industrial water demand rose from 46 billion cubic meters to 177 billion cubic meters 1999 Beijing started to suffer from drought 2003-2008 moving of 400 million cubic meters of water from Shanxi and Hebei region to Beijing 2009-2014 200-600 million cubic meters 2004 400 of 669 Chinese cities experiences water shortages. 100 of them serious. 28.000.000 tons of grain production cutted, 20.000.000 hectares of farmland are affected by drought 2010 The governments of Yanqing, Huairou, Fangshan and Changping revealed that about 300,000 mu of crops have been affected by drought

1950-1960 / construction of the Beijing’s fresh water sourcing system

Miyun reservoir .construction: 1958-1960 ..2 main dams: Bai River dam (66 meters high, 960.2 meters long), Chaobai River dam (high 56 m, 1100 m long) ...area:188 kmq ....40 to 60 m depth of water .....water capacity: 4.317 billion cubic meters

Jingmi canal .construction: 1960-1966 ..purpose: transport fresh water to Beijing city

Huairou reservoir .construction time: 1958 ..area: 6.67 kmq

Guanting reservoir .construction: 1950 ..water capacity: 4.16 billion cubic meters

quality level of the water I II III IV

1980-1990 / the turning point in the water use quality level of the water



1980: surface water for domestic groundwater for agriculture


Construction of 85 dams in order to regolate and store surface runoff Pollution problem in the guanting reservoir Construction of concrete Chaobai and Wenyu rivers




1980-1990 / the water crisis quality level of the water I II III IV

1997: serious pollution incident prompted Beijing to discontinue to use of guanting as a source of drinking water 2000: Beijing started to suffer from drought creation of the groundwater protection areas and the groundwater recharge areas 2007: construction of underground pipes to move water from wenyu river to chaobai river South-north water diversion .construction time: 2008-2014 ..water capacity: 1 billion mc per year from the yellow river


Every year 460.000 people dead in China for the polluted air and the dirthy water. The population in Beijing grows of 44,5% in ten years, from 13,5 millions of citizens in 2000 to 19,6 millions in 2010

550 million tons of grain in 2020, an increase of 50 millions tons from 2007 (for maintain China’s population). China is now depending on importation for wheat an rice.

The concentration of Pm2.5 (powders produced by cars) makes the quality of the air level in Beijing 173 (in a scale from 0 to 500). This quantity causes loins deseases to everyone.

Beijing urban area growth: 1995 2005 20.465km2 32.520km2 Beijing district convert 50 km2 of fields into urban space every year


THE EIGHT CHALLENGES OF BEIJING / water, migration, urban growth, mobility, health, waste, food, industrialization and the solutions proposed by the government.

.the costruction of the Soth-North Water Diversion will bring 1 billion cubic meters of water. ..the Republic of China has started to buy agricultural fields all over the world: Brasil and Argentina for soya, sugar, cropes. Nigeria for millet, peanuts. Malesya for rice, woods and biofuel. China is now depending on importation for wheat an rice. ...the great green wall: 300.000.000 of trees to plant in the Hebei area (north-west of Beijing) in order to stop the grew of the Gobi Desert. A forest of 250.000 km2 For the initial irrigation 24 rivers have been started to move

what does

an alternative way

it mean a better city?


a Machining Approach

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest, as designers, is an alternative way, that has to take in consideration many other factors. We are interested in the transitional stages between the current situation and the final one where in Huairou new city will live 830.000 people. We want to apply on our territory a machinic approach. Its main feature is the transformation and the passage between different phases. We are more interested in the journey that produces the new cities than in the final, consolidated status. We want to start a sort of metabolic process that, eating and digesting, grows altering the city and the landscape. This metabolic process takes into account the transition from an agriculture economy to an industrial one and, blending this two opposite situations, it will carry the mutation in the people’s identity as a strategic issue. During this process the common reduction of open areas in favor to the city growth will be in certain phases inverted due to the understanding that the urban areas and the surrounding territory are different parts of the same organism. Any change in on part will produce an effect on the other in a way of compensation and balance.

NEVER ENDING STATE OF TRANSITION/ M. C. Escher, “Metamorphosis II�, woodcut print, 1939


Landscape Infrastructure:

a bridge between city and nature

jie he

Symbiosis between city and nature Considering that the existence of humankind is never a moderate one, every part of the planet has become marked, calculated, organized or occupied by some means, the notion of virgin nature is much more metaphor rather than actuality. However, modern urban planning and contemporary architecture have stubbornly continued to cherish the dream of the urban nature that could be real. While the 19-century parks achieved the commitment of creating urban nature as a remedy to the problems of cities during the industrial period, today cities continue to be created above rural landscapes, together with the

migration coming from rural area to urban area. The wonderful 19-century parks were actually the initial forms of the concept that landscape guides urban expansion. Prior to the design of the city was defined, these parks made a structure for urban development to follow. Landscape delineated the new edges of the communities to be constructed, and at the same time, the green investment will be instantly paid back by the elevated land value. Urban planning, property development, and the graceful existence of nature were actually well combined, performing as the purest forms of landscape urbanism.



Although this sort of concept still seems to be the ideal of landscape urbanism in the contemporary world, however, the basic features that a park requires to survive has been missing in practice. Based on the research of Jane Jacobs, a good context is normally essential for parks to be successful. And numerous urban residents consider the large area of green zones in cities, which almost are located in every single Chinese master plan of suburban area, as beneficial natural background, but additionally as most likely dangerous, and as areas being avoided, as there is simply too little activity and without blending of consumer groups. Alternatively, presented by the concept that the metropolis is benign, the capability of green zones is definitely over estimated. And this inherited logic of development has received worrying results in the current period of time, because the fact is that the metropolis is really an insatiable user of resources that urban areas consume rural landscapes. Thus, in such a progressively urbanized world, it is time to establish a new system for a better relationship between city and nature, especially in developing countries such like China, where rapid urbanism is ongoing throughout its territories, transforming the countryside into the new urban area during the shortest time.

Nowadays, contemporary society is definitively urban, mostly abandoning the rural area to be utilized by business interests and insidiously branded as green. Virtually, present passion for urbanism has made rural area the blind spot. It does take generations of continuity to dwell in the landscape productively, and that productive inhabitation is currently endangered around the globe. Since we recognize the necessity to decrease the carbon footprint of civilization, each city block includes a homeless and also proportionally large rural footprint, regardless of whether active or inactive, around or far away. The implied rural footprint of urbanization, which offers it with necessary natural resources, agriculture, as well as the social legacy of such rural areas, is unquestionably of same importance to that of the urban artifact. And it can be easily stated that the cities need rural resources, whilst rural areas reap the benefits of proximity to urban areas. And these kinds of resource exchanges could be efficient, while well balanced with the development of strategy relevant spatial anatomy and also infrastructural proximity. In such a practice, key urban and rural resource exchanges and their capital,nature, and space producing potentials are considered.[1] Urban planners and landscape designers therefore are equipped to answer the challenge of formalizing


the urban area and its particular systems with techniques that recognize, understand, and yield to the system of nature. In terms of this, large scale urban expansion could be offered direction by creating a green framework initially. And by the ways of generating designed nature in adjacency to present urbanization, capable of absorbing future urban expansion into itself while keeping continual ecological systems, landscape can actually be created before the city, even though the structure and functions of the urban area have not be defined. On the other hand, the specific landscape characteristics and ecological features might be absorbed straight into the urban area. Water, topography, and vegetation could be used by all sorts of means, creating a metropolitan atmosphere together with essential spatial qualities, water management, microclimates, and the countless incidental benefits engendered by social and ecological vitality accessible to all. And the aspirations of generating designed nature would be the significantly humane reformulation of the relationship between the city and nature. And the concept of designed nature will result in the generation of a new sustainable urban design strategy according to incorporation with the deep patterns of nature itself. And compared to ancient clear cutting and industrial period colonization, modern democracies and information societies could choose

a milder, more mutual, and more responsible attitude when it comes to nature.

Landscape infrastructure as a bridge In the contemporary globe, the position of public infrastructure within towns and cities has been evolving. The incorporation of mass transit alternatives, clean energy, and altering attitudes concerning water resource efficiency has generated a new set of performance standards for present and future infrastructural corridors. The character of infrastructure nowadays is continuous, where modes of infrastructure could easily turn out to be outdated, redistributed, and reinvented, subjected by global economic and geopolitical forces. The contingency of today’s infrastructure demands the system being created for adaptability and flexibility. While traditional infrastructure was conceived as a centralized, single purpose system; the trend for today’s infrastructure system is to become decentralized, where the need to address, for instance, water runoff, energy, farming, or transportation are resolved at a local level.[2] Apart from performing its planned functions, the multiple functional variations of such important systems could become a catalyst for city revitalization by means of open space enhancement, habitat generation,

and neighborhood regeneration.

urban infrastructural systems can perform a diverse position that actively makes a contribution to the enhancement of city life. The incorporation of the infrastructure system inside the landscape structure demands one to redefine the previous system inside a new set of paradigms, which is more aligned to ecological nature systems. In terms of this, landscape turn into the medium through which all ecological transactions need to perform as infrastructure, guaranteeing to align ecological and social issues with logistical and instrumental systems in ways of nature. Landscape can be explained as infrastructure for our collective presence that landscape infrastructure comes prior to the expansion of urban areas, permitting and then keeping development. And it is even the very last thing remaining after metropolitan areas decline, when the systems are not necessary to support shrinking neighborhoods any longer.

The modern city is really a huge organization with a significant and incredibly complicated metabolism. Aside from infrastructure, the urban area is almost never amenable to planning. Transformations are relying mostly on small scale regional interventions, and recycling of industrial areas happens to be the significant trend during city innovation. Inside the system of landscape urbanism, infrastructure provides the next phase for further inquiry since the economic and development future of a city is in direct proportion to the capability to gather, exchange, distribute products or services, resources, and people throughout large territories. Infrastructure can be described as ligament that liable to bring together different components, instilling cohesion and also objective. And our cities require this sort of infrastructural approach that extends beyond identified borders and links numerous areas to other areas, people to sites, neighborhoods to neighborhoods, people to people, the nature to the city, and the city to the nature.

The potential and performance of landscape infrastructure

Therefore, with the rapid expansion of the metropolises along with the lack of available open space, it has been found that infrastructure can be an untapped resource with the ability to influence positive transformation. With the employment of social and ecological guidelines,

It is worth noting that in order to counter the impact of the global financial trouble, China have authorized a multiple billion dollar package for infrastructure projects with the ambitions to build 400 new cities in the next decade. China’s 11th 5-Year Plan


concentrates on infrastructure investments in central and western areas, including road systems, railways, and irrigation systems, as the growing middle-class in all these regions requires a better quality lifestyle comparable to the remainder of the country. And the ongoing South to North Water Diversion project, a challenging task of mega infrastructure supplying water from the water abundant southern provinces to the water scarce Beijing city, which provides the best potential of landscape infrastructure. Landscape infrastructure is a strategy that expands the performance parameters of a designed nature to a high performance and multiple functional systems, incorporating systems initially belong to traditional infrastructure. Also, traditional urban design is focused on building massing and grids, while urban design according to the concepts of Landscape infrastructure is oriented towards landscape based incorporation of the built and natural conditions, looking for innovative possibilities for constructing nature and public facilities into the infrastructure of urban area. At the same time, landscape infrastructure provides several extra advantages to traditional infrastructure, including urban vegetation and beautification, water preservation and management, natural systems restoration, pedestrian use, and broadened park and open space created inside ignored segments of existing infrastructure. Landscape infrastructure can transform urban

blight into urban destination and assist to generate an iconic identity for the urban area, which is always missing during rapid urbanization, depending on the latent natural characteristics of a city. And as a non-isolated system, landscape infrastructure will be able to adhere to a set of demands and get measurable outcomes. Landscape infrastructure can also be utilized to stand for and comprehend the dynamic systems of urban area, and is also increasingly regarded as an important medium for city making. The relationship between natural networks and the urban infrastructure starts to propose several urban developing strategies over the growth and development of systems of landscape infrastructure relevant to ecological systems. The place to start would be that the long-term as well as enduring elements of urban areas are usually associated with the underlying landscapes, just like topography, geology, rivers and climate. It doesn’t mean a denial of the facts of globalization or the impact of technological innovation, but acknowledgement of the significance of position as well as the link with natural networks. It indicates there needs to be a relationship between the fundamental structures of hydrology and topography and the mainconstructing aspects of city form, just like the utilization of catchments as the base for physical planning and regulation. As there is an evident synergy between the networks of open space to serve


social needs and strategies to open systems of urban water management. For instance, in Curitiba, Brazil, current urban planning initiatives undertaken in the 1990s have updated the open space system of urban area to generate a network of parks that as well collect and treat urban runoff. And at neighborhood scales, the matrix of public and circulation space is used as the drainage and water treatment infrastructure. Landscape infrastructure is one of the most efficient ways to discover the relationship between natural processes and urban area, which could be the essential element in a truly synthetic landscape urbanism. Translating the concepts of landscape urbanism into physical form more and more depends on the utilization of parametric processes, in which a set of parameters is provided to a design issue. And by manipulating the variables (which may be ecologically driven), alternative solutions are generated, such as varying degrees of building density, or configurations of building massing yielding optimized open space networks. [3] It is obviously not about creating approximations of pristine natural environments, but instead generating functioning ecologically based networks that cope with social activity and natural processes in the city. Landscape infrastructure repositions landscape as a complicated, instrumental system of crucial services, resources, in which important characteristics of the

natural environment performed a vital position in locating the key axes and main structures of urban area, and processes that supports current urban economies and work as a form of hybrid infrastructure, engaging and redefining infrastructure in the context of potential expansion in our towns and cities.


POCKET SCENARIO / the current situation is characterized by a division of the different parts of the territory, resutling in a dramatic waste of water.

POTENTIAL SCENARIO / an intelligent cycle in order to link the water use (and reuse) to the food production.

WATER PROJECT CICLE / the water role as a link between the urban environment and the countryside. Quantities of waste water producted in the city and water requirements for irrigation.


the Market Strategy

The first mechanism of our process is to give back an economic value to the agricultural area that surrounds the city. This will be possible bounding it strictly to the city life and the needs of the citizens. The installation of a zero km market perfectly links the urban area with the production of the necessary food. The market’s structure needs a certain distribution of the spaces and a precise quantity of fields (linked to the number of people to feed) and infrastructures (roads for the movement of the goods and canals for irrigation and drainage). This creates a sequence of spaces that has the power to reorganize and re-structure the territory, assigning a new hierarchy and offering an interesting frame for the next urban development. The second mechanism of the process is the possibility to collect the waste water of the city, clean, and use in order to cultivate the fields in a intelligent cycle. The quantity of the waste water (with the rain water) is enough to irrigate a large part of the fields, satisfying the 72% of the annual need of food. As an important corollary, the previous two cycles need a precise number of people to let them properly work. In this way a large part of the population would have the possibility to continue to work as farmers in a more profitable and direct way.


Meanwhile, the new generation will found a new job and new opportunities in the development of the new urban areas. The zero kilometer market strategy has the variation in time as an essential characteristic. In fact, if the production of food is linked to the population and the available land in the district, is extremely clear that the territory would produce enough food only for a certain period of time and for a precise number of people. In this way is possible to determine four different phases between the current situation and the final one when in Huairou new city will live 830.000 people. Each of these phases has a precise ratio between the urban growth and the development of the agriculture fields. In the first two it will be possible to feed all the population while in the third one the cultivation techniques will be more intensive (greenhouses). The final phase will be characterized by the development of the industrial economy and the consolidation of the urban growth, while the vertical farming will continue to feed the population. These more sophisticated techniques need less water for the cultivation so, in the final phases it will be possible to use the extra cleaned water to start to refill the main water streams.


MACHINE N째1 / detailed diagram to describe the relations between the different parts of the system and their numerical ratio.


The building of new urban cores in front of the old city will create the extremes for a tension line, along it will happen the main transformation of our metabolic process. The production of this movement, starting with the water harvesting in the old city, will innervate the new agricultural pattern, feeding the population. The new city will grow along the spine and its intensity will slowly affect the structure of the old city. The enlargement of the new organism produces a reduction in the old one. When it will produce enough water to cultivate their own fields, the old area will be “eaten� by the rural area. The last step of the process will present a linear structure bounding the lake to rivers, through the connection between the ruins of the old city and the new urban spine.


Technical Research1:


waste water treatment

In the households is possible to find two differnt flows of waste water: concentrated and less concentrated. A distinction is indeed generally made to black between water and grey water. In the typical collection system these flows are drained mixed and even the storm water usually goes through the same drain. These household flows varies in concentration and composition. The largest source of nutrients in urban wastewater is the human urine. Urine contains 80% of nitrogen (N), 50 % of phosphate (P) and 70% of potassium (K). In combination with the faeces the urine forms a concentrated flow of black water, which is about 1.5 litres per person per day. In the sewerage this flow is diluted with toilet flush water (overage 35 litres per day) and relatively light polluted grey water (average 90 litres per day). Because of the difference between the concentration and composition would be better to treat the black and grey water flow separately or even separate the collection and the treatment of urine. It is possible to recognise three wastewater systems between the most used ones. These are based on the separation of the flows

and are divided in separated collection of black water and organic kitchen waste, No Mix technology (collection of urine) and the local treatment and reuse of grey water.

Blackwater and organic kitchen waste Although human waste is just 1 to 2 percent of the total waste volume, the majority of the nutrients, human pathogens, endocrine disrupting substances and medicines are submitted from this. By collection the black water separately and to use less or no flush water in the toilets, nutrients and pharmaceutical residues remain concentrated. This creates the possibility of efficient processing, energy extraction and possible re-use of fertilizers. In concentrated form, black water is a potential fertilizer, like it has been used in the past. Besides that the organic substance in black water represents a certain amount of energy, which can, in combination with organic kitchen waste, be extracted with fermentation as methane gas.


WASTE CICLE / the journey of the household wastes from the production, through the collection, the treatment and the final re-use.

In a normal toilet (Water Closet) the black water will be diluted with 6 to 9 litres flush water in each flush. This is been used to clean the toilet and to make the transportation in the ‘free decay tubes’ possible. To reach an efficient treatment of black water the use of flush water has to be reduced. Special toilets can be used; vacuum toilets, ‘low flush’ toilets and composting toilets. A disadvantage of this is that the gravities wastewater transport system cannot be used. The use of a pressurebased system is necessary, with vacuum sewers or pressure pipes. There are multiple concepts for separated collection and treatment of black water. In Germany there are a couple of examples where composting toilets were implemented. The collected material has been composted in house or building scale. There are also examples were toilets with an extremely low flush water have bin used. An other possibility is a vacuum toilet, where black water separated has been collected. In the houses are vacuum toilets installed, the black water has been transported to a vacuum station with vacuum sewages.

Organic kitchen waste has been pulverized in a waste compactor and been transported with the same sewages. The collected black water can finally be fermented. This can on neighbourhood scale or after transport on central scale. The residual product (sludge) can potential direct or indirect

Local treatment of grey water The volume of grey water is more then 70% of the household wastewater. An important advantage of the separated treatment of grey water is the fact that grey water has a lower concentration of nutrients what makes it easier to treat. By the local treatment of grey water a new local water source has been created. There is in particular a lot of experience in the use of helophyte filters for grey water treatment. The treated water has been discharged in the most cases in an urban water feature. In areas with water scarcity the water can be used for hydration.

A helophyte filter consist of a waterproof membrane that is filled with reed plants and a filter substrate. In the filter are taking place biological, physical and chemical processes, where waste are being broke down and converted. The wastewater has been intermittent to the filter in a frequency of 2-4 times per day by using an influent pump.

Space requirements of the filters are quite high (2 to 4 m2 per resident). This can be a disadvantage in urban areas. Architect who have been involved in grey water project indicates that by a good integration of the helophyte filters in the urban design there are almost no extra cost by the treatment and reuse.

FREE-SURFACE CONSTRUCTED WETLAND The wetland is flooded with wastewater to a depth of 10 to 45 cm above ground level. Pre-treated wastewater (from septic tank or biogas settler) enters the basin via a weir or a distribution pipe. This system is appropriate for small sections of urban areas or for periurban and rural communities because of the land surface required.

HORIZONTAL FLOW CONSTRUCTED WETLAND Pre-treated wastewater (septic tank or imhoff tank) flows slowly through the porous filter medium (sand or gravel) under the surface of the bed in a horizontal path until it reaches the outlet zone. The water level is maintained at 5 to 15 cm below the surface to ensure subsurface flow.

VERTICAL FLOW CONSTRUCTED WETLAND Pre-treated wastewater is distributed over the filter surface and drains vertically through the filter layers towards a drainage system at the bottom. The drainage pipes are covered with gravel. On top of this gravel is a sand layer (40-80 cm) which contains the actual filter bed. On top of the sand layer there is another gravel layer (10 cm), in order to avoid water accumulating on the surface.



INTEGRATED PONDS Systems based on a series of four advanced ponds: (1) An advanced facultative ponds (AFP) containing a digester pit, which functions much like an anaerobic pond; (2) a high rate pond (HRP) covered with algae, similar to the facultative pond; (3) an algal settling pond (ASP); (4) and finally a maturation pond (MP) for solar disinfection and pathogen abatement.

AQUACULTURE (PLANTS) Two different methods: ‘Hydroponics’ where the cultivated plants are grown with plant roots directly exposed to water; and ‘floating plant ponds’ a modified maturation pond with floating (macrophyte) plants where plants float on the surface while the roots hang down into the water to uptake nutrients and filter the water that flows by.

AQUACULTURE (ANIMALS) Fish can be grown in ponds where they feed on algae and other organisms in the nutrient-rich water. Through feeding, the nutrients form the wastewater are removed and the fish are eventually harvested for consumption. (1) fertilisation of fish ponds with excreta/faecal sludge; (2) fertilisation of fish ponds with effluents; and (3) fish grown directly in aerobic ponds.


The pre-treated wastewater from the Septic tank and Imhoff tank requires a secondary treatment. Also the faecal sludge needs to be correctly disposed and further treated. If the sludge is composted either directly or after drying, it can be used as fertiliser to improve the soil quality

SEPTIC TANK Underground watertight chamber. Septic tanks are primary treatment methods, and the only moderately treated effluent is infiltrated into the ground or transported via a sewer. Accumualating faecal sudge needs to be dug out the chamber and correctly disposed regularly. Septic tanks are used for wastewater with a high content of settleable solids.

IMHOFF TANK Similar to communal septic tanks. They consist of a top compartment, which serves as a settling basin, and a lower compartment in which the settled solids are anaerobically stabilised. This process generates biogas. Imhoff tanks are used by small communities and due to the underground construction, land use is very limited. Investment costs are low and operation and maintenance simple.



Through the combined use of selection, collection and treatment techniques all the produced water in the household can be reused. The treatment systems can be recognized as multifunctional. They should not only be considered as wastewater treatment systems alone but also as bio productive ecosystems

WATER PURIFICATION PONDS / different techniques and their main facts.

that use the fertilizing value of wastewater. Various examples show that wetlands have a large potential in producing biomass. In such a multi-functional approach, wastewater treatment might even become an economic activity that creates income and reduces or covers the cost of wastewater treatment.


By calculating the individual capacity of the chosen water cleaning systems (septic tank and wetlands), we can use and recalculate it easy and quick for the project.

In the concept of separated collection and treatment of black, urine and grey water can be designed a total system. Different studies are showing that the scale should be minimal of 2000 to 5000 persons to be economical interesting.



WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM USED IN THE PROJECT 1. septic tank (primary treatment) 2. vertical purification pond (secondary treatment) 3. horizontal purification pond (secondary treatment)


In order to treat the greay water is needed the combination of all the three different system, both primary and secondary, while for the storm water is only needed the use of the two secondary treatment.

Technical Research 2:


techniques for food production

The number of people who live in cities is escalating steadily all over China. Urban areas are quickly turning out to be the main territories for getting rid of hunger as well as poverty, bettering livelihoods and seeking progressive approaches to promote regional financial improvement in conjunction with improving food security. With growing land demand for the city, household self-consumption has a tendency to reduce and recourse to the urban market increases. It will be important for urban agriculture to supply fresh, perishable products, whilst rural areas supply food which is more bulky and much easier to be stored. Probably the most valuable as well as intensive land use and products with higher value-added compared to transportation expenditures tend to be discovered close to the urban centre. Urban products are distributed by ways of shorter marketing chains compared to rural ones. Short promoting chains make it possible for lower price — difference between the fields and final consumption. Despite the fact that food security risks could be greater in urban farming areas

when compared to rural areas due to several sources of pollution, such as chemical toxins in water used for irrigation, and restricted fields location, causing farmers to make use of extra fertilizers and inorganic pesticides, the proximity of producing locations to urban marketplaces offers them with advantages of easier high quality management. Factors apart from distance also provide strengths to urban agriculture. Additionally, compared to rural areas, farmers are encouraged to make money all year round from small fields for being able to obtain food and guarantee a common livelihood, whilst in rural areas some area can be arranged for subsistence food production. This explains the reason why urban agriculture products will probably become less seasonal than rural ones, which may be an important aspect for promising food security in urban areas.



FOOD REQUIRENMENT / the quantity of food needed yearly per person in China. We are interested in the goods that are possible to be cultivated in the surroundig areas of the city.

Urban agriculture differs from traditional agriculture since it is integrated into densely populated areas on the fringe of a city which address some exceptional challenges like city ordinances, lack of arable land and open space, and comprises various producing methods. According to official numbers stated by China’s Healthy Food Criteria, different quantities of food, such like cereal, fruits, vegetables, meat and so on, are essentially

needed for the daily life of Chinese people. And together with the numbers of people who will work and live in the urban area, the total quantities of necessary food to cater the whole population of the city every year and the area of land in order to produce such quantities of agricultural products can be more or less calculated. And these numbers can be used as the basis for the planning of a self-sufficient city, while different types of agricultural fields can be planned in proportion to the various percentages of agricultural products that is required by the citizens. If take the features of urban agriculture, characteristics of specific territory and also the economic factor into consideration, only a few types of agricultural products will be produced inside the urban area in reality. In this case, the agricultural lands to be planned will include fields of cereal, vegetables, fruits as well as greenhouses, which can offer 70% product for the city itself if concerning the area of available land as well as the water shortage issue of Beijing.

FOOD REQUIRENMENT / the total amount of food necessary to feed the population of the new city


FIELDS DIMENSIONS / optimal fields dimension for the different cultivations and the surface required to produce the entire quantity of food for the new city.


water use in 2.5 km2 WATER NEED / the quantity of water required by the different cultivations per year.

In terms of sprinkler irrigation, water is piped to one or more central locations within the field and distributed by overhead highpressure sprinklers or guns. A system utilizing sprinklers, sprays, or guns mounted overhead on permanently installed risers is often referred

IRRIGATION SYSTEM / the optimal irrigation typology for the different cultivations selected with the purpose to save as much water as possible.

to as a solid-set irrigation system. Higher pressure sprinklers that rotate are called rotors and are driven by a ball drive, gear drive, or impact mechanism. Rotors can be designed to rotate in a full or partial circle. Guns are similar to rotors, except that they

generally operate at very high pressures of 40 to 130 lbf/in² (275 to 900 kPa) and flows of 50 to 1200 US gal/min (3 to 76 L/s), usually with nozzle diameters in the range of 0.5 to 1.9 inches (10 to 50 mm). Guns are used not only for irrigation, but also for industrial applications such as dust suppression and logging. Furrow irrigation is conducted by creating small parallel channels along the field length in the direction of predominant slope. Water is applied to the top end of each furrow and flows down the field under the influence of gravity. Water may be supplied using gated pipe, siphon and head ditch systems. The speed of water movement is determined by many factors such as slope, surface roughness and furrow shape but most importantly by the inflow rate and soil infiltration rate. The crop is planted on the ridge between furro ws which may contain a single row of plants or several rows in the case of a bed type system. Furrows may range anywhere from less than 100 m to 2000 m long depending on the soil type, location and crop type. Shorter furrows are

IRRIGATION STRUCTURES / different possibilities for the design of the irrigation and the drainage system of the fieldsw.

commonly associated with higher uniformity of application but result in increasing potential for runoff losses. Drip irrigation is characterized by the slow and accurate application of water to irrigate plants. Drip systems are composed of a network of tubes and emitters that let water to drip straight to plant roots at low volumes. Drip systems are often connected to cisterns and grey water diversion systems and incorporate filtering mechanisms to help keep debris from clogging the emitters. The potential irrigation efficiency for drip systems is fairly high, which ranges around 90%. They also consume approximately half as much water as sprinklers. Micro-irrigation emits water at gallons per hour versus other watering systems that discharge water at gallons per minute. Continual maintenance is essential to realize maximum water efficiency. This system of irrigation reduces water loss from canopy interception, wind drift, and evaporation.


applying the

the metamorphic terminator


Testing the Research

The previous two chapters summerise the long research that has benn done in order to create a solid base of knowledge to apply into the design process. The understanding of the operation mode of the systems to treat the water and the waste of the city in order to re-use them in the fields and the systems to optimise the agricultural production are fundamental to elaborate a project that takes in consideration the real instances of the territories. In this way it easy to understand the importance of the numbers and all the ratios and requirements necessary to design the new development as a complex system formed by several parts that have to work simultaneously. A machine that would link the city with the fields through the re-use of the water and the production of the food for the citizens.

This set of rules is the starting point to plan the territory, looking for links that are not visible but embedded in the ground and in the landscape.


The purpose to place the treatments of the water in specific points inside the city for a better distribution in the fields and the subsequent collection of the goods along the same infrastructural network, creates a basic radial stucture that innervate the territory. Inside the old Huairou city we have recognised three main cores with already existing public facilities and commercial areas. They are connected to an average of 35.000 people (one third of the city population) and they would become the places to locate the water treatment ponds and the zero kilometers markets. The new water features would enrich the urban environment while distributing the cleaned water in the fields. Along the irrigation infrastructural network would also happen the collection of the goods along the fields and their distribution inside the city.

zero km market fields distribution 72 fields area ZERO KM MARKET FIELDS DISTRIBUTION / basic radial fields structure around one of the public cores inside the old city. It is recognisible the farms required and the necessary fields surface.

city core / market farms required

ALTERATION OF THE GEOMETRY / concentration of the farms and reorganization of the fields because of the impossibility to find available agricultural land all around the city core.

new city core

city core / market

ORGANIZING THE SYSTEM / the presence of a second market core for the new urban development will deform the radial structure, redistributing the fields in the surrounding available areas.


basic elements for the water distribution in the fields

detailed fields dimensions: smaller for vegetable and fruits, larger for crops

fields optimal dimension and direction of the water flow

location and distribution of the different cultivations: closer to the irrigation network vegetables and fruits due to their higher water requirement, crops along the drainage canals.

irrigation network branching rules

final fields and water structure

FIELDS MAIN STRUCTURE / water distribution as the basic device to organize the agricultural area. 300 m as an optimal size for the fields and the necessary branching in the irrigation network in order to cover all the surface.

FIELDS SECONDARY STRUCTURE / organization of the little soil parcels in order to perfectly settle the different cultivations.



the Metabolic Masterplan

The spine is the tension line where happens the main transformations of the metabolic system. This structure changes its features according to the environment that cross: through the old city it is a linear public space characterized by the purification ponds and also offers a proper position for the zero kilometer market. This section of the spine creates its developing space between the old hutongs and the recent high rise buildings, enriching the former public spaces. At the edge of the old city the spine is dominated by the presence of greenhouses and orchards that will also become touristic attractions. In the proximity of the highway and the railway it raises in order to allow a smooth passage to water and people. This part of the structure houses the main industrial core where all the goods from the agricultural area are collected to be transformed and packed. The next part of the spine is characterized by the presence of the core of the new urban development. In this area it will become the main green area facing the different neighboroughs and the place for the collection and treatment of the storm water.

Applying the Machine n째1 (pag.52-53) with its ratios and numerical links between parts is possible to understand that would begin a process that through different steps along the time will change the territory. The starting point is placed in the old city (market and purification ponds) and from this would irradiate along the spine through the landscape, reaching the location of the new city.



phase 0 ... current situation old city: mixed neighboroughs of old hutongs and high rise building of the ‘70. 1 rural area: rural villages spread in the territory and little patches of fields in the surrounding area.

phase 1 old city: collection of the waste installation of the purification ponds.



1 rural area: development of the new fields structure, the water for irrigation arrives from the ponds in the old city. new city: building of the main infrastructures for the new city and first buildings.

phase 2 old city: collection of the waste and rain water. Demolition of a stripe of buildings between the hutong and the high rise buildings in order to allow the installation of the market spine (new public area) 1 rural area: 100% of the fields area for the feeding of the old city. The food will be collected in the central spine. new city: collection of the waste and rain water and instalation of the purification ponds. 2 rural area: first development of the fields for the new city.

phase 3 old city: final demolition of the old villages and building of the new city cores. Expansion of the green area between the “ruins� of the high rise buildings. 1 rural area: reduction of the agricultural area and further intensification in the buildings along the spine. Introduction of industrial areas between the spine and the villages. new city: maximum extension and consolidation of the linear structure. 2 rural area: final development of the fields.





LOCATION PARAMETHERS / the available areas, the main road junctions and the proximity to the water bodies as devices to set the more suitable locations for the development of the new city.

















LOCATION OF THE CITIES CORES / the position of the cores inside the old city (position of the zero km market and the water treatment ponds) and the location of the ones for the new urban development. Between these two extremes the central spines.


RADIAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE FIELDS / application on the site of the radial basic structure of the fields. The presence of the new urban cores split in two areas the agricultural surface around the central spine.

et rk

ds fiel

area city core / market

fields area

farms required

ar ket

1m a





a 1m

rk et

field s area

m ty ci

arket fiel





new city core

lds cit y market fie

new city


new city

portogruaro, italy


el ds

new city

i tf rk e a m y new cit

utrecht, the netherlands

DEFORMATION OF THE DIAGRAM / the previous basic diagram is deformed and informed by the existing lines of the territories: water canals, roads an villages.



THE METABOLIC MASTERPLAN / the district scale application of the strategy: the three distribution cores in the old and new city, the central spines and the fields organization.


THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT / the new organization of the agricultural area through the insertion of the water infrastructure. The former canals frame is partially re-used inside the new network and in this way these old lines will become again an active element oof te landscape.


the spine

let the machine take control!



URBAN PLATFORM AND OVERLAPPED FUNCTIONS / first attempt to organize the different levels of the city into a compact typology

the Myth of the Multi-layered City from Leonardo to Hilberseimer giorgio cucut

The concept of the mixed and overlapped functions condensed into one vertical built organism is a recurrent strategy along the history of the city planning. The integration, on different levels, between buildings and infrastructures seems to be the ultimate solution for the cities in the eras of machines. This specific urban typology has been the highly rational product of times characterized by strong central powers, a former disorganized urban environments and infrastructural issues. The examples from the past and the understanding of their common aspects, make reasonable the application of this model in the contemporary China.

Leonardo da Vinci and the project of the ideal city The first case, but incredibly contemporary, are the studies for a city planning that Leonardo designed between 1486 and 1490 when he was living in the duchy of Milan. This project perfectly belongs to the cultural milieu of the Renaissance when most of the architects and the artist of that time - as Alberti and Piero della Francesca - were developing the concept of the ideal city, as a response to the chaotic state of the medieval cities. While most of these artists were mainly interested in the aesthetic features of the issue, Leonardo - with his typical pragmatic and


scientific approach - tried to offer concrete and realistic answers. He analyzed the structure of his contemporary cities understanding that their main problem was the lack of organization and integration in the different infrastructures. The roads were indeed used as a network to move the goods as a public space for trades but even as an open air sewage system. This unsustainable situation and all the linked sanitary problems, pushed him to elaborate a sophisticated system for the planning of new cities. He hypothesized an urban structure composed by different overlapped layers of infrastructures, horizontally independent but vertically integrated. The lower level of the city should have been a network of canals to distribute the goods (in order to move from the streets the heavy traffic) and to collect the black water from the buildings. On top of this, two levels of roads hierarchically divided: the lower for transportation and warehouses while the higher for pedestrians and the connection between residential buildings. These three different levels were connected by an efficient system of stairs and ramps, allowing the integration of the networks. It is interesting to note that the structure of canals, warehouses and distribution roads created a service platform that allowed a flexible distribution of the residential buildings on its top and in the same time their perfect integration and

LEONARDO’S IDEAL CITY / original drawings and model. The different layers of the city and their integration through the complex system of stairs.

functionality inside the overall system. From this point of view it is clear that Leonardo believed that was not important a precise definition of the architectural details and the aspect of the buildings, but their role inside the city organism. He was, indeed, one of the first to consider the beauty of the city as a result of its perfect functionality and not only as a summation of beautiful buildings.

Hilberseimer and the High Rise City project Five hundred years later, in the 1927, Hilberseimer elaborated his High Rise City Project as an ultimate solution for the planning issues in the XX century industrial society. As Leonardo before, also Hilberseimer was part of his cultural environment. The cultural avantgarde of that time was interested in theorizing a modern architectural practice to respond the development of industrial technologies and the corresponding transformation of the individual in the society (an example among all was the project for The city of Three Million Inhabitants of Le Corbusier). But Hilberseimer’s work, as was for Leonardo, was sharper and more extreme compared to his contemporaries because it was completely based on practical aspects. It was designed in terms of the existing technologies, the economic and social context. Also designed the urban environment


as two different cities overlapped: on the lower level the business with the car traffic while on the top the residential buildings with the pedestrian movement. The High Rise City was formed by a rational distribution of 9.000 people urban blocks of 100 meters per 600 meters, with a five storeys service platform for the offices and the work spaces (courtyard typology) and fifteen storeys of residential linear buildings. This top part of the block had to be smaller to allow the insertion of pathways of 10 meters width to connect the different fabrics. The vertical connection between the levels was the crucial point and Hilberseimer planned a system of stairs, elevators and common services every 100 meters. Also in this case the focus of the project was the functionality of the city, its diagrammatic organization scheme that allowed a perfect integration of the infrastructural networks with the people living spaces.

Common ground The analysis of the shared aspects of these two projects is of the highest importance in order to understand how certain proposals and solutions are still relevant and useful in our time. Leonardo’s and Hilberseimer’s work not only share a typological urban solution but a political and social background with similar characteristics of contemporary situations.

HILBERSEIMER’S HIGH RISE CITY / the rational city environment through his perspective sections.

From the designing point of view the core of the two approaches was the infrastructural networks and its integration and hybridization with the urban fabrics. Actually, both the architects were not interested in a detailed city plan but in the elaboration of a three-dimensional diagrammatic urban environment where the vertical connections played the key role. It was important to show and demonstrate how the various levels of these two compacts, multi-layered cities worked perfectly together, sharing infrastructures and optimizing spaces and connections. From this point of view it is clear the reason why their drawings were mainly sections or perspectives, because they were the perfect visual devices to represent the spatial qualities and the transversal connections between the parts of the city. The width of the roads and the height of the buildings were strictly connected in both cases to guarantee ventilation and solar access, while the blocks were placed for the better solar gain (both examples with long facades facing south). The two cities’ concept was an organization scheme of relations between parts as a direct reflection of the idea of the urban environment as a complex organism. Furthermore the two examples have in common a political situation, characterized by the presence of a strong central power. On one side the aristocratic Milano ruled by the Sforza family and on the other side


the capillary power of the industry enterprises in the capitalist United States (one among all Ford). In addition, the last part of the XV century and the beginning of the XX were two turbulent times from a social point of view. The terrible plague of the 1486 in Milan and the vertiginous industrial growth during the 1920’ brought to a deep social crisis, highlighting the discrepancies between the different social classes. The uncontrolled growth of the medieval cities and the creation of slums in the cities of the late XIX century, led to dramatic issues inside the urban fabric in term of hygiene, water supply, public order and traffic congestion. The answer from the intellectual class was highly rational (and so geometrical and diagrammatic) and informed by the trust in the most sophisticated device of the human brain that is the machine. There are hundreds of Leonardo’s drawings on machines, gears and mechanical devices that highlight his obsessive research in this field and the confidence that the mechanic approach should solve the most complex issues. In the same way the 1920’ were the moment of the machine age: industrial production principles were wide spread around the world and Ford’s mass production assembly line achieves an important manufacturing principal, “complete interchangeability of parts and simplicity of interlocking.” As a result the city planning was seen

in the same way and solved using the same instruments. A radical urbanism approach emerged, considering the city as a complex mechanism where every single part had to play its precise role. Both Leonardo and Hilberseimer understood and rationalized the complexity of reality by focusing in scientific research methods and setting the parameters for an abstract model for planning the city.

The survival of a model: new applications China’s contemporary urban situation China’s today situation, with its social and political characteristics, is easily overlapping to the previous examples and allows the testing of a similar urban approach. China, indeed, has a strong central power (that informs all the different layers of the society) and has to deal with a dramatic social issue, due to the incredible growth of the population. Many evidences perfectly explain that China is ready to a new, huge urban transformation in the next ten-fifteen years when millions of farmers will become workers in the new cities. China is proposing to the world a manufacturing future. The era of the machines is still alive in this country and the influence of the industry enterprises is deep rooted and it is rapidly extending in the agricultural areas. The planning of new large cities

is a direct consequence of this industrial growth and raises a number of issues about the urban shape and the distribution of the work and the residential areas. Moreover, have to be taken into consideration the problems linked to the scarcity of water, the lowering of food production and all the other ecological aspects. The highly rational projects of Leonardo and Hilberseimer offer an interesting starting point to address these issues. The multilayered, compact and mechanized city seems a proper device to elaborate a neat urban environment, able to absorb the complexity and the contradictions of the contemporary China. This model has to be implemented by a precise reading of the surrounding territory in order to understand its rules and mechanisms. In this way, the diagrammatic approach of Leonardo and Hilberseimer, will be extended beyond the edges of the city to reach the boundaries of the landscape, understanding these two part as one organism. Urban planning can overcome the state of being a collage of images or a mere interpretation of an actual phenomenon. It should be based on the invisible structure that organizes the city within itself, in the world and in time. A urban planning that can be regarded as a dynamic organizational model. Considering the relevant role of industries in the China’s future it is crucial to understand which would

BEIJING’S CONTEMPORARY CITYSCAPE / crossing infrastructures in a misty atmosphere.

be their position and their relation with the other parts that create the urban environment. Are they only huge grey boxes to forget in an anonymous part of the territory? Regarding industrial principles as the base of that society and also of the city, these major production principles could be the protagonists of a new urban planning. It would be possible to add a new lower layer to Leonardo’s and Hilberseimer’s proposal, considering industries as a large platform for the next urban development. The service platform, dense of infrastructures of the previous examples, could be implemented and enriched by the insertion of industrial areas. This would optimize the distribution of the goods inside the city, reducing the transportation and the overall movement. A shared infrastructural stem for the collection and the treatment of the water and the waste would be the place where the different levels are connected and it will become the core location for the large public spaces. As in the industrial production processes, the key point of this urban proposal is not just each single part but the relation between parts of the city and the territory, and how they would perform together into an organization system able to adapt to different conditions in the time. The city would be the ultimate product in the intensification (densification and re-iteration) of the landscape infrastructures.

high rise residential

commercial area

leisure facilities

offices low rise residential

infrastructural stem car parking



a Condensed City

How start to design a new city? Which urban typology would be the most suitable to address the features of the territory? Which suggestions are possible to take from past example? Could the political and social situation of a country indicate a urban morfology? The previous essay explores these issues looking to the higly representative examples of the Ideal City project of Leonardo da Vinci and the High Rise City project of Hiberseimer. These two cases suggest a precise urban typology to the challenges in the development of new cities in the contemporary China. The multi-layered, condensed city is the device in the era of the machines when a strong central power needs a higly rational answer. The overlapping of different functions and layers in the city environment would be a great attempt to solve issues as the traffic, the movement of people and even more important the consumption of the ground. Moreover this typology would offer the opportunity to have one integrated and shared core of infrastrutures for the collection and the treatment of the wastes of the city.


In this way the city would be seen as an active organism that instead of only consuming energies would also produce valauable elements for its sourrouding areas. Having as a base of the project the water cicle and the food production, the condensed urban typology perfectly fits the balance between the urban development and the will to maintain the agricultural area as larger as possible. It is also interesting to note that this solution offer the possibility to place the industrial areas in the bottom layer, strictly linking them to the infrastructure cores. This would be a stimulating start to address the problem of the large industrial parks, considering them as an integrated part of the city life and not only as a neglected neighborough in the farest parts of the city.

Does the Machine really work? What would be the real effects of the application of that strategy on the territory? 94

The next chart illustrates the transformation stages between the contemporary situation and the 2030 when should be reached the previsions of the masterplan. Focusing on one of the spine we can precisely test the impact of our strategy. It is importatn to note the people growth in the different part of the territory (old city, rural area and new city) and their movement between them. The market strategy with its link between the city and the agricultural areas through the food production would be so effective that in the end of the process, when the urban development will reach its maximum, most of the people could continue to work as farmers and preserve their identity.



2nd wetland

septic tank

grey water treatment 1st wetland

commercial always link between city water treatment

industry 19 % commercial 7 % offices 10 %


water for irrigation

rain water collection for irrigation

seperate collection of black water

urban platform 5000 people

industry 19 % commercial 7 % offices 10 %

storage compost


urban platform 5000 people

biogas reactor

urine and compost as fertilizer

old city

industry 19 % commercial 7 % offices 10 %

fruit greenhouse 0.2 km2

vegetables 0.7 km2

fruit 0.5 km2

cereals 1.3 km2

vegetables greenhouses 0.3 km2

fields for the city population

irrigation water from the city

2,5 km2 7 urban island for the collection and the treatment of the waste water and the organic waste

rain water treatment

B grey water treatment

central spine

core of the methabolic process: area for the collection and the transformation of the goods

urban platform 5000 people

storage 0.02 km2


collection of goods to the village

collection of goods to the main spine

fruit greenhouse 0.15 km2

vegetable 0.3 km2

fruit 0.25 km2

cereal 0.45 km2

village 0.063 km2 vegetable greenhouse 0.2 km2


connected to:


water treatment

fields for the village population MACHINE N째2 / the links between the different elements that form the spine: the old city with its sourrounding agricultural area, the central spine with the industries for the tranformation of the food and the new city with its own agricultural

surface. The central spine will collect and tranform all the food and re-distributed in the city.

A urban platform 5000 people

grey water treatment

rain water treatment

industry 19 % commercial 7 % offices 10 %

urban platform 5000 people

new city

2,5 km2 7 urban island for the collection and the treatment of the waste water and the organic waste

The technical researches about the collection of the waste inside the city suggest that is necessary to divide the city surface in smaller parts in order to make the system effective and economical valuable. It is clear that this size would be linked to the number of people that live inside and to the waste that they produce. This sort of urban “islands� would have and average size of 0,36 square kilometers with a population of 5000 people. For this reason inside this machine diagram the two urban areas are shown in seven different parts with their own infrastructural core to collect and treat the waste. In the same way the rural villages are divided and distributed according to the quantity of fields that the people that live inside can cultivate. The different agricultural patches (according to the different cultivations: crops, vegetables, fruits and green-houses for vegetables and fruits) act as the engines in our machine, fueled by the cleaned water that arrives from the cities, they produce the food that is first collected in the warehouses inside the villages and then moved to the industries inside the central spine.



neighbourhood of 5000 people grey water pond


city diagrammatic grid with the location of the underground septic tanks

deformation of the diagrammatic grid on top of the existing roads frame

secondairy spine for grey water collection

main spine for rain water collection

rain water pond

PRINCIPLE OF THE COLLECTION OF THE WASTE WATER IN THE OLD CITY / the rain and grey water will be collected in each neighbourhood with his own system.

The water collection and treatment will be applied in islands of 5000 people. Each island will have his onw system based on the principle shown above. The city will have three spines, one primairy spine and two secondairy spines, to collect and treat the water and with each an distribution point for the irrigation. The rain water will be collected along the main spine in the city. This will become the open space with public facitlities. The grey water is been collected in an secondary spine what will connected all the different neihbourhoods individually. the branches system for the harvesting of the waste water through the available open space.

Knowing that the required surface of one urban “island� is 0.36 square kilometer and that the maximum field size is 300 meters, the basic neighborhood would have and estimated extension of 1 kilometer. In this way the part that will forme the new city will have a linear development, perfectly fitting the linear structure of the fields.

neighbourhood of 5000 people rain water pond 99

main spine for the grey water collection

grey water pond 22.400 m2

PRINCIPLE OF THE COLLECTION OF THE WASTE WATER IN THE NEW CITY/ the main spine in the island collecteds the grey water and transports the rain water to the rain water pond.

distribution point secondairy spine

distribution point primairy spine

distribution point secondairy spine

distribution point secondairy spine

distribution point main spine

distribution point secondairy spine WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM IN THE NEW CITY/ all the neighbourhoods are connected to the primairy and secondairy spine.

WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM IN THE OLD CITY/ each part of the old city has three spines, collectiong the waster on the edge of the city for the irrigation

LEGENDA water distribution hub central spine between the two city cores water distribution network irrigation system drainage canals system


SPINE AREA / the studio area for the application of the market strategy. It is possible to recognize one of the cores in the old city (water treatment main point and zero km market) and the selected area for the new urban development as a second point in the tension line rapresented by the central spine.

The main spine in the city is the starting point of the new development. By knowing the basic elements of the new neigbourhood we can start to understand a phasing, the “island” will start to grow along the spine and will extend along his rail (main spine). By using a basic rule about the relation between the different “ilands” along the spine, we can start to draw a system. The rule is based on walking distances between the ponds. The ponds will become the open space and public area along the spine. Every 550 meter a new pond and thus island will start to grow, what will result in a sequence of open spaces along the spine. The grey water pond is like the rain water pond related to the walking distance of 550 meter. In this way the grey water pond will become the centre of the neighbourhood.

FIRST PHASE / the first development will start at the intersection of the main spine and the existing infrastructure, along the field structure.


WATER HARVESTING STRUCTURES AND DESIGN OF THE NEW CITY / the diagrams show the geometrical rules that are at the base for the design of the structure for the collection and treatment of the waste water in the new city. These infrastructural lines are the first step and the base for the further urban planning.

SECOND PHASE / During the second fase the city will start to grow along this spine and a system of ponds will apear.

SECOND PHASE / When all the neighbourhoods are placed the urban density will increase with cummercial cores along the spine.

LEGENDA water distribution hub central green area location of the purification cores to treat the grey water location of the purification cores to treat the rain water underground network for the harvest of the waste water


The water network provides rainwater storage capacity for the city and also collects wastewater for treatment in different ponds based on natural cleansing systems. Urban corridors and greenbelts line or cross the network of rivers and canals. These designed greenbelts incorporate wetlands and bioswales, forming a system for urban runoff filtration. The proposed water network links directly to the existing rivers and canals system. And it can define the various areas of Huairou new city and encourage recreational use as well as educational interpretation for urban life.

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE / the drawing shows the structure of the water network that its complexity: the collection of the rain and grey water inside the old and the new city and its treatment in the specific points along the main green spaces, the distribution of the cleaned water from three main hubs placed along the edge of the urban area, the branching irrigation system and the drainage canals in between.

main distribution water network irrigation system drainage canals

LEGENDA water distribution hub fields surface irrigated with the water from one distribution hub greenhouses vegetables 104

The proposed fields of urban agriculture are distributed around urban area and act as a food source for urban residents in terms of self-sufficient. The quantities of different agricultural fields depend on the population it will cater inside the urban area. And the locations of various agricultural fields are decided by the size of available land, the distribution of water, and also current surrounding conditions. The fields to supply fresh products like fruits and vegetables that will consume more water will be located closer to the water systems, whilst fields for cereal which is more bulky and much easier to be stored will be planned near the roads and warehouses.

FIELDS DISTRIBUTION / division of the fields in the all spine area in the last phase of the urban development. The drawing shows the water distribution hubs and the fields surface that each of those can irrigate. Then this total amount of water is divided to satysfied the necessities of the different fields knowing the water need for the cultivation types and their surface requirements.

fruits cereals


The circulation diagram shows a map of various means of transportation which run through the city. And the network of transportation offers an opportunity for incorporating different urban functions. A monorail and freeways connect different main urban areas of Huairou new city together and towards central Beijing city, offering the regional connections. While inner transportation following the rivers, canals, and boulevard corridors, provides local connections. The water distribution diagram illustrates how the proposed water distribution system works and provides certain quantity of water for agricultural irrigation. Wastewater and rainwater throughout the whole city are collected for treatment and will be redistributed as part of irrigation water. And as the city grows, more waste water will be produced and less water will be needed for irrigation thanks to the introduction high- tech agriculture, extra water will be used to recharge the dry river across the urban area.

FUNCTION LOCATION / distribution of the main features inside the new city (commercial and business districts and industrial areas) according to their position and the proximity to the different infrastructures (highway, roads, railway and mono-rail)

LEGENDA cbd food tranformation industries other industries road network new mono-rail mono-rail stops villages warehouses rural villages demolished villages old city new city

The food distribution diagram shows the distribution of self-sufficient food in urban agriculture, including the food for the citizens and the agricultural product for villagers themselves. Food produced in the fields will be collected and transported to the nearest warehouses inside villages for storage, and some of the products with high value-added such like fruits will be sent the industry area for processing and package.

LEGENDA distribution hub primary infrastructural network secondary infrastructural network

WATER DISTRIBUTION INDEX / the drawing shows the quantities of water along the different branches of the irrigation network. COLLECTION OF THE GOODS INDEX / the drawing shows the collection of the goods in every field and its movement along the infrastructures first towards the warehouses inside the villages, then in the central spine for the transformation. distribution hub primary infrastructural network secondary infrastructural network


THE GREEN SPINE / the concentration of the water treatments along the central part of the new city creates an attractive urban environment, facing the cores of the different neighborhoods. the meaning of the central spine is not only its importance as a piece of infrastructure but because of its role to condense the city life. Learning from the traditional Chinese urban environment, there are no squares or plazas, but linear public spaces that change their characteristics according to the surrounding areas.



experience the city

new city


URBAN REQUIREMENTS / the chinese masterplan numbers about the quantities of the different functions that have to be placed inside the new urban development. How distribute them?

MACHINE N째3 / the standard chinese distribution of the population: the diagram shows the links between the different elements of the production system referred to the population of one city.

3 km2


1.5 km2

open space

1 km2


1.5 km2


2 km2



building the Cityscape

The design for the new city took inspiration from agricultural field and infrastructure pattern within the territory. The concept was translated into a framework for individual islands, comprised of multiple urban functional neighborhoods adjoined by a series of greenbelts, water corridors, ponds, and wetlands. Regional connectivity was achieved through intercity rail, in addition to existing local rail system and freeway connections. And this network of transit provides a strategy for integrating housing, commercial, and industry into a more harmonious connection with the natural environment. Interconnected transportation expands the local industries, which related to agricultural products, and offers opportunities to reduce traffic, while promoting a vibrant, dense, and efficient place to live.


The strategy for land utilization maximizes the social and economic value of Huairou new city, while expanding its ecological potential. The master plan divides the city into districts that include civic center, financial center, office campus, high-tech industry research campus, and resort. Within these districts, individual islands are developed with residential, industrial, commercial, and cultural uses. Smaller city blocks promote a more intimate and human-oriented environment, contrast with much of the proposed development in China that tends to anticipate heavy traffic and expedient development. And aside from providing a more walk-able urban environment, the smaller block sizes also allow for greater architectural variation and for the preservation of the local cultural identity.


Using the multi-layered urban typology as a prototypical device is possible to generate different arrangements and outputs accorting to the functions that are overlapped. This urban prototypical “island” is composed by a service platform and aerial levels. The service platform is structured along a central stem where all the systems for the treatment and collection of goods are placed. Moreover there is space for the location of the industries and the car parkings that, with their requirements in term of size, light and ventilation, will inform the design and the distribution of the higher levels. The aerial levels host public spaces, commercial areas, offices and the different house typologies. According to the plug-ing inserted in the service platform is possible to recognize three different configurations of the urban “island”: high with large scale industries and car parks, medium with middle scale industries and car parks and low with only car parks. The distribution and the next alteration of these basic prototypes will be done according to the different istances of the territories and the location inside the urban area.

URBAN PUG-INS / mixing functions for the creation of the multi-layered urban typology.

high island










medium island DENSITY LINK (FAR)








low island DENSITY LINK (FAR)








URBAN DENSITY / In order to accommodate the estimated population in the urban area and achieve the average housing density according to China’s master plan, five existing housing prototypes with different degrees of housing density was found within the city. 116

PARAMETHERS FOR THE URBAN DENSITY / Translating the principles of landscape urbanism into physical form relies on the use of parametric processes. By manipulating a set of parameters, which are ecologically driven, varying degrees of housing density are generated, yielding optimized open space networks.

green pubic spaces


URBAN DENSITY MAP / the result of the overlapping of the different paramethers that show the distribution of the dwellings densitity inside the new city. The basic size of the urban neighborhood of 5000 people is re-arranged through this distribution.


commercial and business districts


main roads

DIAGRAMMATIC PLAN OF THE THREE PROTOTYPICAL PLATFORM / variation in the distribution of the ponds according to the typology of the platform.




APPLICATION OF THE RULES / the location of the network of celaning ponds inside the city area.


service platform

INDUSTRIES DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS / it is possible to recognize three main sizes of industrial building according to the production typology. The diagrams show the dimensions and the ratio between the different parts (offices, storage area, production area, track entrance, track parking) and the changing in the size if it is needed an expansion.

DIAGRAMMATIC PLAN OF THE THREE PROTOTYPICAL PLATFORM / the subdivision of the islands according to the different size of the industries and the car parkings. In yellow the courtyards for the ventilation and the illumination.

APPLICATION OF THE RULES / the longitudinal connection lines in the real map.


DIAGRAMMATIC PLAN OF THE THREE PROTOTYPICAL PLATFORM / the lines shown in the plan are the different longitudinal connections (path, publc alleys, roads, private gardens) recognisible in the sections on the left. HIGH ISLAND CROSS SECTION / the higher service platform typology allows the collocation of large scale industry (max storey high: 12m) in its back part and car parkings in the front area. These are serviced by two different road networks, avoiding the traffic congestion. On the aerial level, the house typology could variate from patio to terrace houses.

service platform


high platform

middle platform

low platform

MIDDLE ISLAND CROSS SECTION / the middle service platform typology permits the collocation of middle scale industry (max story high: 8m) in its back part and car parkings in the front area. Because the platform is lowered of one level there are some variation in the longitudinal connections (private gardens of terrace houses becomes public path) On the aerial level, the house typology could variate from low to step terrace houses.

LOW ISLAND CROSS SECTION / the lowest service platform typology hosts in its body only car parkings in the back part, allowing a larger fragmentation of the front area at the ground level. The longitudinal connection become wider and characterized by larger green spaces. On the aerial level, the house typology could variate from terrace houses to high rise buildings.

APPLICATION OF THE RULES / the longitudinal connection lines in the real map.


DISTRIBUTION / the longitudinal connection lines in the real map.

DIAGRAMMATIC PLAN OF THE THREE PROTOTYPICAL PLATFORM / the lines shown in the plan are the different longitudinal connections (path, publc alleys, roads, private garens) recognisible in the sections on the left.

aerial levels


high platform

middle platform

low platform

APPLICATION OF THE RULES / the longitudinal connection lines in the real map.

patio houses 1 124 FROM THE SIMPLE TO THE COMPLEX / the iteration and the combination of the typology to create an urban neighborhood.

VOLUMES COMBINATION / the two sizes of patio houses, their relationship, their own garden and the entrance path



The first, lower dense typology, is the patio house that is proposed in two different sizes. It is characterized by two storeys with large living room on the second one facing south and the private garden in the groun level.

PATIO HOUSES 1 / axonometric view and main cross section of the typology and of the neighborhood.

dense row of patio houses

semi-private open space industry patio


public green central stem with public alley

green houses

THE TYPOLOGY AND THE PLATFORM / the distribution of the houses on top of the service platform to create the complexity of the urban environment.

patio houses 2 126 FROM THE SIMPLE TO THE COMPLEX / the iteration and the combination of the typology to create an urban neighborhood.

VOLUMES COMBINATION / the two sizes of the two storeys patio houses, their relationship, their own garden and the entrance path



The second typology of patio houses is obtained by the combination of two basic elements: a L shape cell in the ground level with its central patio and a two storey patio house on the first level. This distribution allows a higher density, maintaining the presence of private open spaces.

PATIO HOUSES 2 / axonometric view and main cross section of the typology and of the neighborhood.

semi-private open space industry patio


dense row of patio houses

public green central stem with public alley

green houses

THE TYPOLOGY AND THE PLATFORM / the distribution of the houses on top of the service platform to achieve the complexity of the urban environment.

terrace houses 1 128 FROM THE SIMPLE TO THE COMPLEX / the iteration and the combination of the typology to create an urban neighborhood.

VOLUMES COMBINATION / the two sizes of terrace houses, their relationship, their own garden and the entrance path ENTRANCE PATHS


This typology of terrace houses is suitable to create gentle urban slope facing north. The opening of private patios allows a good solar gain for the large living rooms placed in the second level of the houses. The commercial areas and the offices are placed below the slope and they face south and the main public alley. This public spaces have their own open areas on the north side between the houses, creating in this way a mixed distribution of public, semi-private and private gardens.

TERRACE HOUSES 1 / axonometric view and main cross section of the typology and of the neighborhood.

semi-public open spaces

public alley


plain air space for the offices

access paths terrace houses THE TYPOLOGY AND THE PLATFORM / the creation of the urban slope: complexity in the connection and integration fo the open spaces between houses and offices.

terrace houses 2 130 FROM THE SIMPLE TO THE COMPLEX / the iteration and the combination of the typology to create an urban neighborhood.

VOLUMES COMBINATION / the two sizes of patio houses, their relationship, their own garden and the entrance path ENTRANCE PATHS, STAIRS AND ELEVATORS


This second typology of terrace houses is designed to face south, allowing the placement of commercial areas and offices below them, on the north side. The frame of the houses is not completely compact but allows the opening of gardens and open spaces for the other functions on the south side.

PATIO HOUSES 2 / axonometric view and main cross section of the typology and of the neighborhood. This second typology of terrace houses is designed to face south, allowing the placement of

semi-private open space DISTRIBUTION OF THE DWELLINGS

private terrace garden offices open space

commercial area public green industry patio

THE TYPOLOGY AND THE PLATFORM / the distribution of the houses on top of the service platform to achieve the complexity of the urban environment.

high rise 132 FROM THE SIMPLE TO THE COMPLEX / the iteration and the combination of the typology to create an urban neighborhood.

VOLUMES COMBINATION / the flipped structure of the two typologies of high rise buildings, their relationship, their own garden and the entrance path.



The high rise typologies, that together combined, create the towers are a basic cell with a double storey space on one side. This L shape of Le Corbusier memory, has the distribution path in the core and allows the creation of gaps of different sizes between the cells. In this way it is possible ot create as small, private gardens as large open public spaces in the width of the building.

HIGH RISE / axonometric view and main cross section of the typology and of the neighborhood.

private terraces



public alley commercial area THE TYPOLOGY AND THE PLATFORM / the combination of the cells in different high allow the creation of variegated and fragmented high rise buildings.


THE NEW CITY MASTERPLAN / the urban development as the ultimate intensification of the landscape infrastructures.

III LAYER / green areas around the location of the ponds. main green area with the rain water ponds secondary green area with the grey water ponds

vertical connection

service platform


II LAYER / large storm water ponds along the main spine and the series of little grey water ponds.

secondary stem for the distribution of the grey water

grey water ponds

in the fields

rain water ponds

grey water pond

grey water sewage system rain water harvast system waste water treatment hub

central stem for the distribution of the rain water in the fields

vertical connection

distribution of the grey water

I LAYER / main roads network, fields structure, industries.

in the fields

vertical connection

secondary stem for the

VII LAYER / commercial and offices areas and central spines. commercial and business district “island’s” commercial and office area

VI LAYER / urban green-houses and public open spaces. urban greenhouses public green areas

V LAYER / house typologies location and distribution. high rise terrace houses 2 terrace houses 1 patio houses 2 patio houses 1

IV LAYER / secondary road network: platform streets and path, connections between the different parts of the city.

aerial levels




experience the city

the urban environment





the Urban Spaces


The journey through the different scales that composed the complexity of the urban environment reaches his furthest point with a close view at the orgnaization of the urban “islands”. We selected a portion of the city where the three different typologies of platforms (high, medium and low) are closed and create and interesting urban space that deserves a better description and analysis.

THREE URBAN “ISLANDS” MASTER PLAN / a top view of the urban environment among the three different typologies of service platform: the water infrastructure, the green open spaces, the multi-layered paths and the house typologies.

SECTION 1 / cross section through the core of the high platform: the central infrastructural stem, the industry area. On top of them the public spaces and the terrace houses facing the water pond.

I LAYER / main roads network, fields structure, industries. IV level paths III level paths II level roads I level roads ground level paths

vertical connection


vertical connection III LAYER / green areas around the location of the ponds. green public areas

II LAYER / distribution of the different typologies of ponds along the service platform. grey water ponds

secondary stem for the

rain water ponds

distribution of the grey water in the fields

grey water sewage system rain water harvast system

secondary stem for the distribution of the grey water in the fields

I LAYER / main roads network, fields structure, industries. industries car parkings industries trucks entrance car parkings entrance

vertical connection

waste water treatment hub

vertical connection

service platform


central stem for the distribution of the rain water in the fields


IIV LAYER / aerial level’s house distribution according to the density map of the all city. patio houses 1 patio houses 2

vertical connection

terrace houses 1 terrace houses 2 high rise

IV LAYER / commercial and offices area, public facilities and urban greenhouses commercial + offices green public spaces

vertical connection

vertical connection

urban greenhouses

V LAYER / the service platform different levels and the linear rows of terrace houses on the south side.

aerial levels

vertical connection

vertical connection

IIIV LAYER / the constellation of the private open spaces: gardens, rooftop terraces and patios.

infrastructure inbetween the urban ‘islands’

view into the courtyard of the industry

platform with commercial

view over the rain water pond


SECTION 2 / the relation between the high and middle platform: common spaces and the large public space enriched by the water pond.

view over hte landscape

terrace houses

main spine with the monorail

grey water pond with wild flowers


SECTION 2 / the relation between the high and low platform: high rise buildings and dense patio houses.

public space insid e the ‘island’

path over the grey water pond

infrastructure with open space


view over the landscape with orchards

connections to the surroundings

courtyard of the industries

centre with public facilites


HIGH PLATFORM ASSONOMETRY SAMPLE AND STRUCTURE / combination of the two different typologies of patio houses.

paths network


main spine

private gardens

private garden

urban rooftop greenhouses

tertiary roads

suspended monorail

urban greenhouses

zero kilometer market

patchwork of patio houses

private gardens

commercial centre

courtyard industy 151

commercial centre

patio houses

URBAN PERSPECTIVE I / the environment in the high service platform with the combination of the two typologies of patio houses.


It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest, as designers, is an alternative



paths network


main spine

private gardens

courtyards of industries

urban rooftop greenhouses

construction taken by green

urban greenhouses

offices of industries

terrace houses

zero kilometer market

commercial centre

offices 155

commercial centre

terrace houses

URBAN PERSPECTIVE II / the environment in the high service platform with the first typology of terrace houses that creates the gentle residential slope on top of the commercial and offices area.


It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest, as designers, is an alternative


MIDDLE PLATFORM ASSONOMETRY SAMPLE AND STRUCTURE / second typology of terrace houses and public spaces.

paths network


main spine vetical connection

private gardens

private garden

central spine with open space

path network

vertical connection

urban greenhouses

commercial centre

patchwork of patio houses

suspended monorail

vertical connection


commercial centre 159

terrace houses

water hub tower

URBAN PERSPECTIVE III / the environment in the middle service platform with the second typology of terrace houses.


It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest, as designers, is an alternative



paths network main spine

private gardens

courtyard to car parkings

paths network

urban greenhouses

urban greenhouses

vertical connection


green slope

high rise buildings

water hub tower

suspended path


commercial centre 163

high rise buildings

URBAN PERSPECTIVE IV / the environment in the low service platform with the high rise buildings.


It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest,

It is not possible to avoid the Chinese aim of a radical and deep change but what we can suggest, as designers, is an alternative





Moments in Time


The building of the urban environment through the years will carry the transformation of the territory from the current agricultural situation to a stage where the urban development would be the main character. It is of the main importance to better understand the different phases along this process also in the detailed scale of three urban platforms. The embedded feature of this urban prototype is the possibility to be subdivided in autonomous parts that can be built in different times. The flexibility of the system is mainly due to the cell nature of the waste treatments and their indipendence. That means that the central stem of the service platform could be entirely built and work as an unicum or built in separated parts and functions in sub-levels. In this way the urban process that we are proposing can stop at any stage, guaranteeing in the same time a perfect functionality of the overall system.

high platform vertical connections

medium platform low platform

vertical connections

vertical connections


green central spine

SERVICE PLATFORM / settlement of the large and medium scale industries along the perimetrical roads of the fields.

PATHS NETWORK / the primary mono-rail line through the platform closer to the center of the city and the system of horizontal and vertical connection to link the different levels of the ground.

terrace houses 1

high rise high rise

PLATFORM HOUSES / the long rows of terrace houses along the ponds side of the platforms. They blend the difference in the levels of the ground.

AERIAL LEVEL / the development of the high level through the different house typologies according to the city overall density distribution.

LEGENDA grey water ponds rain water ponds grey water sewage system rain water harvast system waste water treatment hub fields paths monorail service platform aerial level offices car parks

FIRST PHASE / the urban development starts with the building of the service platforms along the edges of the fields and in the areas close to the central green spine where are located the storm water ponds.


first phase - 2018

patio houses 1

new industrial development vertical connections

vertical connections

new platform

industry expansion

platform enlargment

neighborhood paths

vertical connections


SERVICE PLATFORM / expansion of part of the previous industrial areas and building of new service platforms.

PATHS NETWORK / extension of the road network both on the ground and on the platform level.

terrace houses 2

high rise

patio houses 1 and 2

PLATFORM HOUSES / new sections of terraces along the platform and addition of a new level on top of the existing ones.

AERIAL LEVEL / the development of the high level through the different house typologies according to the city overall density distribution.

LEGENDA grey water ponds rain water ponds grey water sewage system rain water harvast system waste water treatment hub fields paths monorail service platform aerial level offices car parks

SECOND PHASE / the second step in the urban development is characterized by the building of new indipendent parts of the service platform along the main river. This is possible due to the creation of new hubs for the treatment of the waste water. The fields surface starts to be fragmented and alternated with the urban fabrics.


second phase - 2024

patio houses 1

industry expansion

platform enlargment platform enlargment

vertical connections

neighborhood paths

vertical connections

vertical connections


SERVICE PLATFORM / the last development of the service platform fills the remaining spaces between the previous parts. The industries reach the maximum size.

PATHS NETWORK / intensification in the horizontal and vertical connections in order to create an entire integrated infrastructural system.

patio houses 2 terrace houses 2

high rise

PLATFORM HOUSES / last fragments of terrace houses along the platforms edge.

AERIAL LEVEL / densification of high rise buildings in the residential platform closer to the center of the city.

LEGENDA grey water ponds rain water ponds grey water sewage system rain water harvast system waste water treatment hub fields paths monorail service platform aerial level offices car parks

THIRD PHASE / in the third step of the urban development the platforms will reach the maximum extension, joining different sections that in the previous phases were more isolated. The agricultural surface is reduced in patches around the core areas of the neighborhoods, but still well connected with the other fields on the other side of the river. Also in the last phase of the urban growth the city would maintain a strict link with its productive land.

third phase - 2030



EXTREMES SCENARIOS / the urban planning is not a perfect science and Hilberseimer well claimed that cities are always in a state of transition and that main problem of the designers is to shape this transition towards a desired end. Unfortunately, future is not easy predictable and all the planners’ scenarios and ideas c ould be destroyed in a moment by the turbolence of the economical market or by a natural disaster. Therefore, it would be interesting to challenge the urban proposal, testing it in two extremes situations in order to understand if it would have enough strenght to maintain its identity and nature.

an overall view

a glance on the district

today 2012










THE GROWTH OF THE SYSTEM / an overview of the changes of the urban structure over the time


By questioning the traditionally disconnected relationship between agricultural producing rural areas and consumptive urban areas, the project recodes the current China’s master plan of Huairou new city according to the predicted population density and future urban expansion. The project brings together agricultural patterns and layered infrastructure systems to create a new, multimodal urban fabric. The landscape provides inspiration for the design of the new city and infrastructure performs as a connective tissue that brings together disparate element. The project investigated the viability of urban agriculture to provide on-site resource production by creating complex, robust urban ecosystems. And through the implementation of water management networks and agricultural fields, the master plan articulates a new typological metabolism for the city, transforming parts of the rural areas into a productive landscape and establish a self-sufficiency regarding food production while simultaneously integrating water recycling systems into the agricultural infrastructure. The infrastructure systems created for agricultural process can serves as a framework for new urban typologies which explore the urban block as a selfsufficient unit. The ecological framework integrates transportation of both regional and local scale, the harvesting, treatment and redistribution of wastewater and rainwater, and the production, collection and distribution of agricultural products. The horizontal infrastructure typologies could form a public urban platform that is capable of supporting different kinds of vertical building typologies with multiple urban functions. Rainwater run-off and wastewater from adjacent neighborhoods are fed into the treatment ponds and constructed wetlands, making the water and nutrient resources available for agricultural cycles of cultivation and restoration, and the harvested crops are made available to the public. The horizontal ecology and the vertical economy enter a symbiotic urban metabolism that is calibrating the consumption of the new urban fabric with its potential for production. The vertical densification of the plot is interdependent with its horizontal expansion.

AA Landscape Urbanism 2011-12 The roots of water-Huairou-Beijing  

The roots of water is the design thesis of Janneke Eggins, Giorgio Cucut and Jie He at the Architectural Association within the Landscape Ur...

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