Living in cities, we often have to choose between livability, sustainability, and affordability. However, that is not the case in the new project presented by the Research and Design Laboratory SPACE10, EFFEKT Architects and IKEA, which promises to unite the three under one roof.
Drawing on years of research, the project addresses a simple question: how can human communities thrive in the 21st century while respecting nature and utilizing the benefits of modern technology? The Urban Village Project sets out to explore this idea, providing visionary and visual descriptions. in 3D to imagine those possibilities.
The premise is to find partners who are willing to explore such opportunities in real life. The creators believe that "living a sustainable life should not feel like a burden, but a natural part of life." And they want to achieve this "by rethinking the design, management and life cycle of our built environment."
The core of this vision is living in small neighborhoods provided with 12 shared services and facilities, accommodating "people of all ages, backgrounds and life situations." These include a shared living room and kitchen, co-working and event spaces, as well as fitness and play areas.
Each neighborhood would also have sensory gardens for recreation, retail, health clinics, and farms. Electric bike stations and manufacturer spaces are also considered a must.
Among the key sustainable solutions, the project relies on renewable energy, water harvesting, tool loan libraries, local food production and composting of food leftovers, as well as digital applications that grant access to community services. The neighborhoods would also be based on circular design principles, with all buildings and elements easy to disassemble, repair, replace and recycle.
In terms of real life, the idea is to offer flexible homes that adapt to particular needs. Apartment options range from 36 m2 for single people to 144 m2 for families with three children. The buildings would be made from sustainable cross-laminated lumber, which the founders consider to be far more suitable for human health and the planet than buildings made from concrete-filled steel frames.
To make all of this affordable, the project will use a prefabricated modular building system that would be mass produced and financed by investors who do not seek short-term profits, such as pension funds, sustainable companies and municipalities. The founders of the project would try to make a transition from those properties to community property, with each person or family assuming financial ownership at the scale and rate they can afford.
Even with a host of sustainable futuristic developments hitting the market in recent years, this new project seems to stand out by focusing on the things that matter. It balances between brilliant eco-luxury ideas and utopian ecovillages and provides a decent answer to the challenge of global urbanization.
Hopefully we can soon see this visionary project taking off in real life.