A New Model for Suburbia

written by:
October 1, 2012

Hong Kong architect Otto Ng drew inspiration from challenges facing the modern world to design an innovative suburban model that could become reality. His model, called Transcity, blurs the line between urban and suburban to foster a sustainable infrastructure.

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  Ng's Transcity model seems futuristic, but it addresses several modern day movements: urbanization, global warming, and the slumping economy through various measures. By modifying the way we look at the urban metropolitan area, Ng argues that we can change the way it functions and how efficient it is. Ng's model is a futuristic and sleek look at what our metropolitan environment could evolve into.
    Ng's Transcity model seems futuristic, but it addresses several modern day movements: urbanization, global warming, and the slumping economy through various measures. By modifying the way we look at the urban metropolitan area, Ng argues that we can change the way it functions and how efficient it is. Ng's model is a futuristic and sleek look at what our metropolitan environment could evolve into.
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  More people than ever live in the cities and his model reflects that. Transcity places an emphasis on non-car transportation, allowing for more bicycle and public transit use. It designates roads and paths for certain vehicular use—designating each roadway with bike, car, bus, or train transit.
    More people than ever live in the cities and his model reflects that. Transcity places an emphasis on non-car transportation, allowing for more bicycle and public transit use. It designates roads and paths for certain vehicular use—designating each roadway with bike, car, bus, or train transit.
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  The U.S. suburban area has shrunk due in part to the economic crash. This urban plan looks to save it by providing a wealth of walkable area that helps to compartmentalize the surrounding neighborhoods. Residents would have to use these areas to get from point A to point B. Even though in the middle of the city, the terrain would keep an open and accessible feel.
    The U.S. suburban area has shrunk due in part to the economic crash. This urban plan looks to save it by providing a wealth of walkable area that helps to compartmentalize the surrounding neighborhoods. Residents would have to use these areas to get from point A to point B. Even though in the middle of the city, the terrain would keep an open and accessible feel.
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  According to Ng, housing must be addressed differently than normal to maintain a balanced density. The first step was building a community that shares public space among the residents. To that end, paths run through neighborhoods, near shopping districts, and even underneath some larger buildings.
    According to Ng, housing must be addressed differently than normal to maintain a balanced density. The first step was building a community that shares public space among the residents. To that end, paths run through neighborhoods, near shopping districts, and even underneath some larger buildings.
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  The accessibility to transportation may bring about visions of a sprawling metropolis. So Ng worked to blend city and country: "The major goal of the project was to urbanize the suburbia asphalt, producing a condition that is not so urban and not so suburban." As a result, Transcity's density remains lower than Manhattan or even Hong Kong's even though transportation is just as accessible.
    The accessibility to transportation may bring about visions of a sprawling metropolis. So Ng worked to blend city and country: "The major goal of the project was to urbanize the suburbia asphalt, producing a condition that is not so urban and not so suburban." As a result, Transcity's density remains lower than Manhattan or even Hong Kong's even though transportation is just as accessible.
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  To foster that willingness to share, Ng designed Transcity with multiple housing types. He believes grouping the housing near one another "can intensify community and its diversity will also nature a more lively community" but he makes sure to keep them separate from the business or industrial sectors as well.
    To foster that willingness to share, Ng designed Transcity with multiple housing types. He believes grouping the housing near one another "can intensify community and its diversity will also nature a more lively community" but he makes sure to keep them separate from the business or industrial sectors as well.
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  Another step was to incorporate what Ng calls the "Walmart typology" into a landscape that is still well-connected to the community. Incorporating large retail into community meant changing the approach. So while separating the residences from the businesses, Ng made sure they didn't feel starkly different by retaining the same plan used throughout the rest of the city.
    Another step was to incorporate what Ng calls the "Walmart typology" into a landscape that is still well-connected to the community. Incorporating large retail into community meant changing the approach. So while separating the residences from the businesses, Ng made sure they didn't feel starkly different by retaining the same plan used throughout the rest of the city.
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  Ng unites the neighborhoods with the city via what he calls the Axial Platform. It embeds the Walmart Big Box type of shopping in a pedestrian-accessible park, which creates a central avenue to that acts to unite the neighborhood. He drew inspiration from Mies van der Rohe's project in Stuttgart, Germany, that worked to address housing differences.
    Ng unites the neighborhoods with the city via what he calls the Axial Platform. It embeds the Walmart Big Box type of shopping in a pedestrian-accessible park, which creates a central avenue to that acts to unite the neighborhood. He drew inspiration from Mies van der Rohe's project in Stuttgart, Germany, that worked to address housing differences.
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  This model illustrates how this urban retail would play into the walkable space of the Axial Platform. The pedestrian park overlaps into the shopping area, making it accessible for anyone in the area.
    This model illustrates how this urban retail would play into the walkable space of the Axial Platform. The pedestrian park overlaps into the shopping area, making it accessible for anyone in the area.
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  The Axial platform acts as a border for the major city area and defines the edge of the Transcity infrastructure within the larger metro area where other outlying neighborhoods may start. Otto says it works to "unify the surrounding grey goo and experiment as the home for the Sub+Urban idea."
    The Axial platform acts as a border for the major city area and defines the edge of the Transcity infrastructure within the larger metro area where other outlying neighborhoods may start. Otto says it works to "unify the surrounding grey goo and experiment as the home for the Sub+Urban idea."

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