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The Pandemic-Proof City

The Pandemic Proof City
02 October 2020

A new city close to Beijing is being designed to protect residents against future pandemics, known as the "pandemic-proof city."



The community will feature wooden apartment blocks, rooftop farms and renewable energy solutions. There will also be drone-friendly terraces and home working spaces.

Barcelona-based Guallart Architects won the contest to design the community, as an example of a new standard of planning in the post-COVID era.

The premise of the design is to provide all amenities "even in moments of confinement,” tackling issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.


"We cannot continue designing cities and buildings as if nothing had happened."

–Vicente Guallart

Founder, Guallart Architects 



"This Pandemic has Accelerated the Future”


The community is based in Xiong'an, a newly built urban area in Baoding. President Xi unveiled plans in 2017 to create the Xiong'an New Area, about 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Beijing, as an urban innovation zone.

The competition for the Xiong'an project was held when employees of Guallart Architects were in lockdown in Spain, and that influenced the design "completely",  Founder Vincent Guallart told the Thomson Reuters Foundation:

"This pandemic has accelerated the future. Cities have seen what they are capable of if they face a challenge, and therefore decisions related to climate change and its impact on the urban model, on the design of buildings, on mobility, should be made immediately."


What are the City’s Main Features?


  • Buildings covered with greenhouses to provide food. 
  • Large balconies for outdoor access.
  • Pedestrian and cyclists only streets with public transport and e-taxis.
  • Drones used for deliveries. 
  • A neighbourhood app to alert residents to health warnings or other important information.
  • Sloped roofs to produce energy -  the community contains an “internal metabolic system “that integrates energy production, recycled water, food production and material reuse.
  • Co-working “digital factories” using 3D printers and rapid prototyping machines to create everyday objects.
  • The blocks will be mixed-use, including childcare services, apartments, residences for the elderly, offices, swimming pools, shops, food markets an administrative centre.


According to The Telegraph, up to $500 billion is expected to be invested in the creation of Xiong'an over coming years. 

Picture: an aerial view of the city. All images courtesy of Guallart Architects

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 October 2020


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