The Self-Sufficient City

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By Miyoko Ohtake
In modern home design, going green is no longer the exception but the norm. While we've summited this hill, there's still an ominous mountain before us: off-the-grid cities. For the third Advanced Architecture Contest, architects, planners, designers, and artists around the world are being asked to propose ideas for the self-sufficienty city.
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Ideas for self-sufficient cities has been popping up with increased frequency. Earlier this year, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce announced its intent to develop a "free zone" and GCLA, a multinational landscape architecture firm based in the United Arab Emirates, presented a design called Food City(below left). Around the same time, Dutch design firm MVRDV won the Gwanggyo Power Center Competition (below right) for a self-suffficient city just south of Seoul, South Korea. The projects feature multi-level landscapes (green roofs, vertical planting and farming), circular cradle-to-cradle systems for waste products to become resources, and emphases on mixed-use spaces such as public parks that also function as grazing fields for livestock.

Previously, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and HP, who organize the Advanced Architecture Contest, have sought out solutions for self-sufficient designs at the residential level, resulting in folding homes, pod homes, and those nestled into mountainsides and surrounded by small crops. For this contest, which is open for entries until September 28, the scale is increased to that of a self-sufficient city. Visit to submit your idea, and watch out for the finalists and winner to be announced in January 2010 and selected projects to tour the globe in a traveling exhibition thereafter.

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