Paul Geraedts

Urban planning 2.0: Building new cities from scratch

With an ever-growing global urban population, it is necessary to find new solutions in urban planning. Around the world there are more and more countries deciding to build entirely new cities. These ideas, if executed properly, can be potentially very beneficial for economy, living standard and environment. Let’s look at some of the benefits and downsides of building a brand-new city.

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Examples from the past

While currently our exploding world population basically forces us to build new cities, creating entirely new cities is nowhere near a contemporary phenomenon. Not all cities started centuries ago and gradually grew from dwellings into villages, into towns and eventually cities. Most cities that were built from scratch can be found in the ‘new world’. Some examples are:

  1. Canberra, Australia
    While there was a long dispute about which Australian city (Sydney or Melbourne) was going to be the capital, the Australian government solved this matter by creating an entirely planned city in the middle of the country. While its nowhere near the size of the two giant coastal cities, Canberra is home to about 400.000 inhabitants and houses all governmental buildings.
  2. Brasília, Brazil
    A prestige project in the middle of the Amazon rain forest, Brasília was founded in 1960 and is now the 3rd most populous city in the country, after Rio de Janeiro (its former capital) and Saõ Paulo. Due to its modernist architecture and uniquely artistic urban planning. It has also been named “City of Design” by UNESCO in October 2017.
  3. Astana (now Nur-Sultan), Kazakhstan
    The capital of Kazakhstan is truly a sight to behold: this metropolis is riddled with skyscrapers and one of the most modern cities in Central Asia. World-renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa designed the master plan of Astana. As of march this impressive example of urban planning was renamed Nur-Sultan.
  4. Washington DC
    After the US independence in 1790, a new site for a capital city was to be appointed by then-president George Washington. While the start of this city was turbulent (the White House was burned down by Canadians in 1812), it is now one of the most recognizable capital cities in the world.

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New times, new cities

The cities mentioned above are already finished, but there are new planned cities in the making. For example, Indonesia is looking at changing the location of its capital, Jakarta. The reason behind this is rather sad: due to overpopulation and rising sea levels the city is slowly sinking. Within 10 years, the Indonesian government wants to move all government offices to a new location on the island of Borneo. According to the Indonesian government, the new location will not require to cut down any more rainforest, however environmentalists are sceptic.

Forest city, China

Another, more modest, project in the making is Forest City in China. This pinnacle of urban planning is going to house about 30,000 people and will be considered a green city. For this project, the Chinese government has asked the Italian architect Stefano Boeri (of the Milan vertical forest). Forest city is due to be completed in 2021, will host 30,000 people and over 1 million plants of 100 different species. The combination of smart and sustainable makes this an urban planner’s dream project.

Artist impression of Forest City, city of over 1 million plants

Urban planning and in-browser visualization

These awesome projects around the world require top-notch urban planning and all the tools necessary to visualize a project. Xuver is an in-browser viewer that will visualize both large and small 3D drawings. So whether you’re designing a new city, housing block or a modest apartment: you can upload your design in Xuver and take your clients on a walk through your design. Check out the video below to see what that looks like! Would you like to learn more about Xuver? Check out this blog. Or sign up for a free trial directly by following the button below.

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A residential project shown in Xuver
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