When 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.
Building on years of research, the project addresses a simple question: how can human communities thrive in the twenty-first century while respecting nature and utilizing the benefits of modern technology? The Urban Village Project aims to explore this idea, providing visionary descriptions and 3D visuals 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 as 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 to live in small neighborhoods provided with 12 shared services and facilities, which are adapted to “people of all ages, backgrounds and life situations.” These include a shared living room and kitchen, co-working spaces and events, as well as fitness and games areas.
Each neighborhood would also have sensory gardens for recreation, retail, health clinics and farms. E-bike stations and manufacturer spaces are also considered a must.
Among the key sustainable solutions, the project relies on renewable energy, water collection, tool lending libraries, local food production and leftover food composting, as well as digital applications that grant access to community services. 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 housing that adapts 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 of cross-laminated sustainable wood, which the founders consider to be much more suitable for human health and the planet than buildings made of concrete-filled steel frames.
To make all this affordable, the project will use a prefabricated modular building system that would be mass-produced and financed by investors who are not looking for short-term profits, such as pension funds, sustainable companies and municipalities. The founders of the project would seek to transition from those properties to community ownership, with each individual or family assuming financial ownership at the scale and pace they can afford.
Even with a host of sustainable futuristic developments that have hit the market in recent years, this new project seems to stand out by focusing on the things that matter. It balances between brilliant ideas of eco-luxury and utopian ecovillages and provides a decent response to the challenge of global urbanization.