In an effort to create a more environmentally friendly and sustainable city, China has recently revealed plans to create a 78 million square foot city, to house 80,000 residents without the need for any of them to own a car.

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture has finished the plans for Chengdu’s Tianfu Ecological City, which is set to lie just outside Chengdu, a city of more than 14 million people in mainland China. This satellite city will be connected to the main urban area by a mass transit hub.

According to the architects’ master plan, the city is intended as a solution to the problem of overcrowding that burdens many of China’s cities. This new city is designed to overcrowding without contributing to the high-energy consumption and environmental hazards, like carbon emissions.

When the city is complete in about eight years, it will use 48% less energy and 58% less water than a typical city with the same population. According to the plan, it will also produce 89% less landfill and 60% less carbon dioxide than others of similar size.

The Plan: A Self-Sustaining Super City

The city will sit on an 800-acre plot, where more than 60% of the area will be devoted to open space, savoring existing farmland. The urban area will be surrounded by 480 acres of natural landscape, including rivers and valleys, that will integrate itself into the city.

Although residents will have the option to own cars, the city is designed to make cars unnecessary, as residents will be able to walk to any point of the city in about 15 minutes. A system of electric light rails will also be available throughout the city to service those who do not wish to walk.

The city center will house commercial, residential and office units. It will have a small manufacturing center and a medical compound that will be designed to address the demographic of young Chinese who live in larger households with extended families.

The firm is working with another infrastructure consultant to build an “eco-park” that will treat wastewater and solid waste along with generating power. In addition, the city’s structures themselves will be positioned in such a way that optimizes the ability for the city to harvest wind power. The area will also use seasonal energy storage to reuse waste summer heat for winter heating. It is designed to also provide power and hot water for the residents.

The Impact: A City Model to Emulate?

The city, when completed, will be the first of its kind. Although one ecologically conscious city may not combat the growing risk of environmental damage alone, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

AS+GG Architecture works throughout China, as well as all over Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and South America, so if the city experiment proves to be a success, the idea of rolling out the same type of structures in urban areas is certainly is promising for the future of environmentally friendly urban planning and design.

San Franciscans are famous for their innovation in eco-friendly endeavors, and by some is considered one of the most ecologically friendly cities in the world – with its residents and business owners often going to great lengths to uphold this value.

From everything to banning plastic grocery bags to a biodiesel fuel powered metro system, San Francisco is already leading the way as a model for being “eco-friendly,” but if Tianfu Ecological City is a true “livable city,” San Francisco will have a long way to catch up.

Here at Reset, we love the idea of other cities providing great examples of sustainable cities. Perhaps if the Tianfu Ecological City proves to be a success, there will be plenty to emulate in other cities, including our own.