4th Grade Urbanists / by Chessin Gertler

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, a group of the world's most prominent urban planners convened to take part in a charrette to explore possibilities for the design of a planned city to act as the capital of an emergent nation state.

In the near future, this urban center must be able to accommodate one million inhabitants and the planners were asked to consider this requirement in relation to living and working spaces, public amenities and green space, as well as infrastructural, resource, and transportation needs. Beyond that, the participants were free to explore any typology and organizational strategy that they deemed appropriate and economically feasible.

Because the site for this future city has not yet been selected, attendees were asked to choose from three abstract site conditions before embarking on a plan. Uninhabited or minimally inhabited sites were selected from Google Earth imagery and presented to the planners as non-literal conditions from which to explore strategies.

At the conclusion of the charrette, participants presented their plans for peer review. Below are a selection of the proposals.

This design presents a typology of urban courtyard gardens. Inhabitants would choose from a model of self-sustaining gardens or a trade-based model where each courtyard garden produced a specific crop. Irrigation from the surrounding body of water and a central abbatoir were included in this proposal.

This proposal organizes the city through a complex subway system. 

This design proposes a new urban typology based on a system of personalized rapid transportation. The plan takes advantage of the abutting body of water to facilitate a pescetarian diet for city dwellers. Civic spaces and sites of farming are positioned towards the center of the city, while living spaces are found at the periphery.

A large-scale grid proposal with integrated airport and complex mass transit system. The proposal also included designs for integrated architectural typologies.

An urban center for military and governmental housing

A polemical proposal on the organizational requirements and infrastructural pressure this undertaking would place on the site and its environment. An associated key

A suburban proposal

This design proposes a new typology comprised of a centralized district of live-work units. Markets and urban farms are located near shipping lanes to facilitate movement of goods. The city's transportation needs are satisfied through a system of instantaneous physical transfer.

An automobile-based plan with a bifurcated layout separating live and work spaces

*This designer declined to present her plan.

A proposal for separate urban clusters interconnected through cable transport. A separate system for the movement of supplies exists independently.

This proposal included a variety of self-propelled and personal transportation technologies.

This design proposes a barter-based urban economy with universal healthcare.

A design based on an elevated rail system

A gridded layout that re-purposes an imagined existing industrial zone

In this proposal, passengers of this elevated transportation system can choose to disembark safely and at their leisure atop a cushioned base before crossing a central river to enter the living and working district. 

An elevated personal transportation system helps organize this proposal into various nodes.

This plan for a cycle-centric city places transportation and civic infrastructure at the center of the city and living and farming space towards the periphery.