Indonesia President Joko Widodo last year declared that the government would begin plans to build a new futuristic capital. Doing so will ease the burden for the current capital, Jakarta, which is overcrowded and under siege from rising sea levels. The US$33 billion project would relocate the political center and nearly 1 million civil servants to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, spurring economic opportunities for an underdeveloped area.
49th Most Influential Project of 2020
Related Companies Chairman Stephen M. Ross calls his US$25 billion, 28-acre (11-hectare) Hudson Yards development, “New York as it should be, with everything you want at your doorstep.” Agree or disagree—and there are plenty in both categories—Hudson Yards is the largest mixed-use private real estate venture in U.S. history. By reimagining a previously uninhabited, ho-hum stretch of Manhattan in New York, New York, USA, the project team unleashed a bold experiment in large-scale urban planning—a city within a city that blends office towers, a shopping mall, an arts center and residential skyscrapers at an unprecedented scale. That live-work-play combo makes Hudson Yards an emerging case study for perhaps the most buzzed-about concept for post-pandemic urban planning: the “15-minute city,” providing everything urbanites crave in close proximity.
18th Most Influential Project of 2020
Senegalese-American musician Akon inked a deal with the government of Senegal in January to build a smart, sustainable city on 2,000 acres (809 hectares) near the country’s capital. The city would run exclusively on Akon’s proprietary cryptocurrency, Akoin—a trial run for what could lead to the integration of digital currency across Africa.
It was the urban planning manifesto heard around the world: The mayor of Paris in February declared residents should have all their needs met—work, shopping, recreation, culture—within 15 minutes of their own doorstep. The project would mean a wholesale reimagining of everything from transit to retail. But as political leaders and urban planners know, emerging from the COVID-19 crisis will likely require bold thinking backed by extraordinary measures. Vive la révolution!
Sitting nearly 9 meters (30 feet) above sea level, this winding pathway in Hamburg, Germany is a bustling, riverside public space. It is also a vital flood safeguard for the city and beyond. Completed in August 2019 and designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the 625-meter (2,050-foot) stretch from St. Pauli Landungsbrücken to Baumwall replaced one of the city’s existing flood barriers dating back to 1964.
Italian architecture firm Stefano Boeri has eco-friendly, futuristic plans for 1,376 acres (557 hectares) of land outside Cancun, Mexico. Proposed in 2019, the revolutionary city would hold 130,000 people—and 7.5 million plants, including 2.3 trees per resident. It also aims to be food and energy self-sufficient, with solar panels and underground-irrigated farmland.
It’s a park built for the pandemic. Proposed in April by Austrian design firm Precht, the public space in Vienna, Austria would feature swirls of tall hedges, allowing visitors to wander different trails simultaneously without coming into contact. Each path would run about 600 meters (1,968 feet), routing guests back and forth from the edge of the park to fountains at its center.
Nonprofit New Story joined forces with tech firm Icon to build the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood, in Tabasco, Mexico. The first series of homes, finished in December 2019, were 46 square meters (500 square feet) and took only one day each to print. They were also dramatically more affordable than conventional builds—welcome news in a community where the median family income is US$76.50 per month.
In May, the city of Sydney approved a proposal to build the city’s tallest residential building. Part of a AU$1 billion redevelopment project on Sydney’s George Street, the skyscraper is a joint venture between two locals—Coombes Property Group and developer Mirvac—and will result in a new 270-meter (885-foot), 80-story tower overlooking the city’s famed harbor.
Two Nordic design powerhouses have unleashed a whole new take on urban development. Ikea design lab Space10 and Effekt Architects envision a subscription-based housing model that encourages people from different generations to share common living space. The concept, unveiled in June 2019, would give residents the option to buy shares of community real estate each month, with the option to cash in shares at a later date.