CHENGDU-SMART CITY: 5th ring as low carbon incubator

Authors: Laura Petruskeviciute. Paulina Naruseviciute, Huang Zhen



The 5th Ring as low carbon urban incubator

The 5th Ring of Chengdu – one of the oldest and currently fastest growing cities in China. The pace of expansion put urban designers and planers to a difficult situation. How to design and plan on such an urban scale and how to meet the contemporary demands for sustainable and energy efficient urban form?

Our studio tried to answer these questions by developing smart prototypes within 5th Ring of Chengdu . These prototypes together created a Low carbon Incubator- a vision for sustainable future.

Urban Gallery – a methodology for urban planning and dynamic management of complex systems was used to help us to manage and design our complex visions.



Well prepared and packed we flew half world to China where we met our new team members architecture students from South Jiatong University. We spent two weeks developing our prototypes during study trips and workshops.

After site visit we spent one day finding institutions and people who might be related to our prototypes. We visited agriculture department and managed to talk to agricultural waste expert who showed us beautiful materials made using rice husks and straws. Although, wider marketing of such materials did not seem to look positive as transportation cost to collect materials is very high .

Another our interview was held with Jiakun architects who showed us their rebirth brick proposal presented in Venice biennale. These bricks made of rubble left after the earthquake and rice straws have much better thermal performance could be made on site and are cheap. Also their advice was to look at traditional Chinese architecture.

Scenario Game

After the research, interviews and site visits we came to the final goal of our trip which was Scenario game sessionheld in one of the gallery in Music park.

Scenario Game is played as a sequence of events that might occur in a certain urban condition.

In the scenario game, simulation and testing of possible realities and interactions between the phenomenon of each mini scenarios, which is picked up from the beans, placed by a bean-throwing game, on the fifth ring of Chengdu’s map.

Scenario game is played with four players and a navigator, consisted of TUB students, SWJTU students, local architects and planners. In the game, one player is in charge of one action from Erasure, Origination, Transformation and Migration, according to which, each player initiate a process in space based on the MS, OF, and PT assigned by the navigator in a sequential order.
The scenarios played describes a hypothetical development of events in order to test and develop design ideas, prototypes and define what potential projects might be. It gives an idea what are the problems and potentials of certain environment.


Prototype “ Rice Industry Hub” is a device for connecting multiple components into systems together and making them act as a single network segment. It is an organizational system for balancing urban and agricultural land. An increasing problem in Chengdu is a significant contrast of agricultural and urban areas. In addition to this, agricultural area became uncontrollable space which is more and more often occupied by industrial and residential buildings. It leaves no space for traditional idea of being in harmony with nature in living environment.

After research it appeared that agricultural land in 5th ring is mostly occupied by rice paddies. Rice straw waste could be recycled in a different ways to get eco products. You can get food, building materials and energy. Prototype “ Rice Industry Hub” increases profit of agricultural land makes it enjoyable as well as controllable. Also disappearance of the farmland will have an impact to the future food production as the population is growing there will be more import which means more co2 emission and increased food prices.


Our prototype tried to deal with this problem by making agricultural land profitable, usable and enjoyable. After research it appeared that agricultural land in 5th ring is mostly occupied by rice paddies.This means that adding additional processes into rice growing process it is possible to get eco products, like building materials and rice husk energy.
The idea of the project is inspired by emergence urbanism concept which uses fractal geometry to create principles of chaotic environment. Our created system works with 5 components placed in areas around urbanized zone creating centers, which can attract more investors interested in similar business.

Although, the agricultural land is shrinking and the future of it is vertical farms. However, its energy consumption is not efficient way of supplying community with food. Our main goal is to keep agriculture as part of urban life. Although, we were thinking and investigating structure made of local materials which could accommodate agricultural land reducing its footprint.