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Chinese ‘smart city’ embraces post-COVID-19 design

London: A new “smart city” in China is to have a state-of-the-art neighbourhood designed to cope with a future pandemic outbreak.

Architects working on Xiong’an, a new metropolis outside Beijing, have been commissioned to make blocks of apartments specially equipped to allow residents to continue to function under lockdown conditions.

Xiongan, a new urban area in China, is to be built with a post-COVID design.

Xiongan, a new urban area in China, is to be built with a post-COVID design.

Each flat comes with a large balcony to allow access to the outdoors, and communal work areas big enough to maintain social distancing. Vegetable gardens, greenhouses and rooftop solar power will help residents maintain self-sufficiency in the event of large-scale disruptions to food chains and electricity supplies.

Past pandemics have played a major role in urban design. The cholera outbreaks of the 1800s, for example, where infected water lay in haphazard, unpaved alleyways, influenced the grid-design system of modern American cities, whose neat layout also made water piping simpler.

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