B.A.R.C. - Greening the Metropolis





A time-based collaborative planning vision for Caofeidian Ecocity 2040.
曹妃甸生态城市 2040基于时间的合作设计

Caofeidian Eco-City is China’s most ambitious response to date to the triple-challenge of explosive growth, environmental pressure, and healthy human desires for the future. However, planning a city from scratch, on a green field, and overnight are three main challenges that undermine the successful planning of sustainable cities. The Dynamic City Foundation and MARS Architects set out to develop a planning model viable within these harsh conditions. Moving beyond standard top-down planning strategies, we have developed and employed an collaborative planning method, based on evolutionary or time-based planning principles to kick start a transformation of planning process and it’s outcome. From Generic City to the Genetic City. In a unique collaboration with 5 Dutch and 5 Chinese progressive design companies a long-term growth strategy for Caofeidian was developed; not by designing all at once, but in relay; each team adding to the previous proposal. The result is a simulation of thirty years of sustainable expansion: the city as the product of an accumulation of evolving ideas, able to emulate the complexity and organic logic of a slowly maturing city.

曹妃甸生态城市是中国最有抱负的探索,它强有力的回应了中国城市面临的三个挑战:爆炸式增长,环境压力 ,人们对未来的健康需求。 但是 ,从头规划一个城市,占用绿地,迅速扩张则是破坏可持续城市成功策划的三大挑战。城市动态基金会和何新城建筑事务所着手建立一种在这种恶劣的状况中可行的规划模式。超越标准的自上而下的规划策略。我们已经发展和应用出了协同规划的方法。基于进化和基于时间的规划原则来启动规划过程的转变。他的结果是,将通用城市转化为遗传城市。这是一个由五个荷兰及五个中国的先进性的设计公司组成的独立合作团队。研究一个关于曹妃甸长期发展的策略。并非一次性设计完成,而是一个接力项目,每个团队的成果添加到早期的题案,结果是一个虚拟的三十年可持续发展,城市作为一个思想进化积累的产物,能够模拟一个缓慢成熟的城市的复杂性和有机逻辑。


Proposal in ten mutations


video links

Tsinghua School of Architecture Caofeidian Genetic City 2010-2012

Rocksteady Design Caofeidian Genetic City 2013-2015

ZUS Caofeidian Genetic City 2016-2018

Urban China / Jiang Jun Caofeidian Genetic City 2019-2021

BAU Caofeidian Genetic City 2022-2024

URBANUS Caofeidian Genetic City 2025-2027

MARS Architects Caofeidian Genetic City 2028-2030

Powerhouse Company Caofeidian Genetic City 2031-2033

MAD / Ma Yansong Caofeidian Genetic City 2034-2036

MVRDV Caofeidian Genetic City 2037-2040

Low resolution videos for those behind the Chinese Wall:

ZUS, Rocksteady, Tsinghua + URBANUS, BAU, Urban China + MVRDV, MAD, Powerhouse, MARS-1




Neville Mars, Dynamic City Foundation

Does it make sense that the new ecocities heralded in Asia and the Middle-east look the same? That they are designed like any generic car city and constructed far from the rest of urban society?

Today sustainability still too often means suburbia with solar panels. Pressure in the boom economies prevents innovation to be integrated or localised. Unfortunately it is precisely here, in countries like China, that entire ecocities are built from scratch and at hyperspeed. This would offer vast opportunities for innovation, yet ironically this approach of top-down overhaul makes China’s cities intrinsically static and their design short-lived. Designed and built overnight these instant cities have trouble incorporating emerging green technologies and responding to new desires and regulations. Outdated as fast as they are erected, China’s short-term investment cycles effectively undermine the long-term visions needed to achieve sustainability. While today’s ecocities are designed on a framework of regulations that effectively prevent the most basic sustainable concepts - like the pedestrian-friendly city - from ever truly happening.

The Dynamic City Foundation (DCF) set out to develop a planning model viable within these harsh conditions. Evolutionary Planning allows a city to respond to market needs without having to abandon its fundamental principles along the way - much like the fractal-like structure of an organically evolving city. We aim to introduce a shift in China’s planning culture from duplication to one of adaptation; a transformation of the Generic City into the Genetic City, where sustainable qualities are ingrained in its core components from conception.

DCF applied this evolutionary planning model to an ambitious new ecocity in China. In a unique collaboration with 5 Dutch and 5 Chinese progressive design companies a long-term growth strategy for Caofeidian was developed; not by designing all at once, but in relay; each team adding to the previous proposal. The result is a simulation of thirty years of sustainable expansion: the city as the product of an accumulation of evolving ideas, able to emulate the complexity and organic logic of a slowly maturing city.

With contributions by Urbanus, MAD, Rocksteady, Powerhouse, MVRDV, BAU, Tsinghua School of Architecture, Urban China, ZUS, and MARS Architects

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BARC aims to explore a process of evolutionary greening for the city of Caofeidian from 2010 to 2040. To achieve this the teams have been asked to expand Caofeidian with 100 000 people in a 3 year period. During a period of ten weeks the 3D file of the cumulative proposal will travel from office to office. The process is documented in order to trace the emergence of a green metropolis over time and understand the qualities of a city as an organic entity. The video footage and the proposals will be visualized in a set of ten videos and presented in ten boxes (image above) and presented at a Dutch Culture House of the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

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Neville Mars / DCF

超越中国的建筑规范: 绿色规划的演变


何新城 / 动态城市基金会

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何博文 Bowen He / 动态城市基金会(Dynamic City Foundation)



Caofeidian 曹妃甸:

Eco-city 生态城:

Generic city“ 庸常城市”(又译“广普城市”;“通属城市”):
“Generic City” 是库哈斯广为人知的理论,其核心就是市场经济模式下驱动的普通城市发展模式。此论之所以著名,只因普通;一是普通到一旦你要讲“特殊”的事情都得拿这个“普通”来当参照系;二是他能将林林总总的纷繁复杂的“普通”一言以蔽之;因此几乎所有关于当代城市发展的模式都不约而同地引用此论作为某种开篇,此处我们也不例外。

Genetic city “进化城市”
“Genetic City”作为BARC项目发起人Neville Mars 提出的概念,词源上取自基因(gene),同时又与generic city 对仗:意在顺应“Generic City庸常城市”市场驱动模式的大前提下,强调城市是作为一代代人不断建设的结果,而非某一代人或某一群人在某一刻的决定或设计这一城市进化观念。

BARC —超越中国建筑规范
因此,为了实现某些生态设计意图;例如,提高密度,增加道路效用/宽度比,实现混合功能等,都不得不与现行规范产生冲突;因此,为了提出更具有前瞻性的生态城设计观念,我们首先需要突破规范——Beyond the Architectural Regulation of China

Start from Scratch 从头绿:


~ Without integrated planning a collection of well designed sustainable buildings can still amount to a poorly operating, ultimately unsustainable city. ~ Neville Mars, Dynamic City Foundation

WHY: Even today no over-arching, holistic or integrated green planning model exists in the world. While, particularly in boom economies such as China, the shortcomings of existing green planning models are quickly coming to the surface. Unable to adapt to changing needs China’s new cities are outdated the day of completion. Not surprisingly, as China’s young society rapidly creates many new demands and desires, the aggressively competitive market leaves designers no time to produce long-term strategies or think in flexible solutions. Sustainability however, can only be conceived, achieved and be paid for on the long term.

Project BARC aims to offer an antidote by inviting 10 progressive design offices to step by step imagine a visionary plan for Caofeidian Ecocity - one of the most prominent new green cities in China. Starting from scratch Project BARC simulates the growth of this city’s aspired high-speed development process for the period 2010 till 2040. One after the other, for 3 year cycles each team proposes an urban expansion of 100 000 people to achieve a city of 1 million people for the year 2040. For every three-year growth cycle DCF has prescribed different ‘hopes and hazards’ that are likely to impact urbanization - from rising sea levels, to a rise in wind power, etc. As the urban expansion proposals add up, an accelerated urbanization process becomes manifest. We can see how layers of designed solutions unfold and how each step impacts the next and shaping the evolution of a sustainable city.


HOW: The second hurdle for sustainability involves regulations. Urban planning codes have not yet been updated to deal with the broad implications of contemporary forms of urban sustainability. In previous research it became clear that in China, working within the official planning regulations effectively makes it impossible to design a sustainable city. Apart from inadvertently promoting sprawl, the regulations actually prevent innovation. The building off-set rules produce cities that are hostile to pedestrians. As a result, although green buildings and technologies are welcomed and often good planning is attempted, the city is unable to break away from inefficiency, congestion and pollution. This situation is particularly harsh in China, yet globally outdated regulations are slowing down the innovation of green planning and prevent much needed transition beyond basic solar voltaics or wastewater management.

Project BARC (Beyond Architectural Regulations in China) temporarily abandons short-term restrictions and regulations to give room for green solutions beyond the current norm. The goal is to collectively generate an ideal master plan. Ideal, not simply in terms of energy efficiency, but as a future living environment. Apart from revealing the limits of current policies, visualizing what the green city could ultimately entail serves a number of practical purposes; an over-arching vision for the future allows engineers and designers working in this field to streamline their efforts towards a common goal. At the same time it can show policymakers and consumers what an evolutionary approach to planning today could offer residents of a green city tomorrow. As such, the proposed city for 2040 is both a pilot project to be realized in Caofeidian and a tool to discuss how to move towards real urban sustainability in China.

展示: 更大的城市让生活更美好

记录设计过程对于项目是非常关键。展示也将尽力地切合规划原作。考虑到知识更替的速度,对话交流与实际制作过程才是重点。初步的讨论和设计准备可在动态城市基金会的网络平台上被追踪。第一阶段——集思广益,草图素描及设计产生——将在动态城市基金会北京工作室的蓝屏房间进行。整个过程将通过DV详细记录,设计师被置于他们自己方案的渲染中,并讲述所设计城市背后的概念。最终的视频将以动画快进的形式,展现一个城市,如何从 2010年到2050年规模扩大了两倍;即一个绿色都市兴起的由来。




  • 只有绿色都市才够大,才能形成闭合的综合体系。
  • 要成就规模,绿色都市必须在现存的城市中心基础上发展、演变。
  • 若要绿色都市的效率超过绿色插件之和, 则要与周围、社会及文化环境发生相当细密的关联。

中国规范之噪 或者说



  • 形成可持续规划的远见:兼顾市场驱动性且着眼于未来。
  • 能在规划完成后进一步演变,能适应中国建设速度的巨大压力和中国的规划文化。
  • 有超越中国建筑规范的意愿

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规划快进 或者说,模拟演变的扩张为了达到高度的设计整合,项目必须跟得上中国发展的加速度。“超越中国建筑规范”项目以动态城市基金会对中国闪电城市化数年研究的结果为基础。动态城市基金会认为城市是一个有机整体,在自上而下和自下而上的力量的碰撞的推动下不断发展演变。要对有机生长有效地回应,必须长期在各个层面有序地努力——从国家规定、地方网络、到街区并最终到终端用户才有可能实现。因此项目应该追踪规划不同层面的决策。这有一个矛盾,那就是在短短四个月的时间里,项目需要分析数十年、持续规划决策的叠加效应。为了实现目标,我们根据中国的五年经济规划周期设计了一个具体的研究方法来模拟未来四十年的状况。我们邀请了八个设计团队,四个来自荷兰,四个来自国,他们将为同一个城市做接力设计。每个团队负责在上一团队的规划之上开发下一个五年规划。具体的设计在workshop中完成。每个团队有一周的准备时间,另有两天用于现场估,并于一周后完成。他们将在限期内的最后一天把自己的设想方案交给下一个五年计划的负责团队。项目完成后,将展现从2010年至2050年四十年间长期而具体的规划,以及规划本身加速发展的模拟。

Adrian Hornsby , Neville Mars, Koon Wee


Check for PART 2 of the Green From Scratch forum in the NAi in Rotterdam, Spring 2011 and the accompanying publication!


This project has been made possible with the generous support of the following institutions:

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