One of the world’s largest urban design projects is officially underway in China.
Meixi Lake is a $7 billion mega city that is planned to house 180,000 people over 6.5 million square metres and will be located west of Changsha City in Hunan Province.
Approved by the Chinese government in 2012, the compact metropolis is currently half completed.
Designed by KPF, Meixi Lake has been designed around the concept of ‘water’ and will feature a number of lakes and canals upon completion.
At the heart of the Meixi Lake will be a 40-hectare lake that will act like as the city’s ‘Central Park’. The CBD, featuring mixed-use developments; as well as landscaped parklands, cultural ventures and meeting places will be will be built around the edge of the lake.
Bridges will crisscross the lake and provide vital connections to all parts of the city. Beijing and Amsterdam based NEXT architects has been chosen to build a large pedestrian bridge that is set to be one of Meixi Lake’s most iconic architectural features. Spanning 150m in length and 25 metres in height, the undulating bridge has been designed to resemble a moebius strip and a Chinese folk art knot.
Canals will radiate from the city centre and provide access to Meixi Lake’s eight neighbourhood clusters. Each cluster will be home to around 10,000 people and will include a village centre with a school, shopping precinct and public amenities. Green buffers with parks and exercise fields will separate each cluster.
According to KPF, the city’s “radial geometry” allowed for a “highly efficient transport system, reducing potential pollution and energy use”.
There will also be other sustainable solutions such as grey and black water systems, distributed energy plants and urban agriculture. The city’s designers are also transforming a flood plane into a large park with micro farms and homes.
Meixi Lake is designed to be a hub for conferences and will also serve as the headquarters for the West Changsa Pioneer Zone.
Meixi Lake is just one of many megacities springing up around the world:
*King Abudullah Economic City, 100km from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, will be home to approximately two million residents and will cost $100 billion. Designed to be one of the country’s financial hubs, the city is about 15 per cent constructed.
*Nanhui New City (formerly named Lingang New City), near Shanghai, where an estimated 800,000 people will move into before 2020. The city is dubbed China’s ‘mini Hong Kong’.
* Yujiapu, near Tianjin, is a $56 billion city that is modelled on New York and features its own Twin Towers and Rockefeller Centre. It is still under construction.
*Kangbashi New Area, outside of Ordos in Mongolia, is famous for being a ‘ghost city’. The city was designed to house 1 million people but due to a number of financial problems was never completed. The city has only ever had two per cent of its buildings occupied at any one time.