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Self-Sufficient Neighborhood


a research/prototype project for a self sufficient neighborhood


Project Type_Urban Research
Size_1.000000 sqm

Can a city be SELF-SUFFICIENT?
To answer this, we examined the city as living organism. Starting from its anatomical systems, a deep research was developed around the main systems that keep the city functioning: water, energy, matter and mobility.

IAAC MaCT - Self-sufficient Neighborhood Prototype The objective of this studio has been to develop a prototype of neighborhood for a Self-sufficient City. The idea is based in the long-term research developed at IAAC, related to the idea that cities in the future will be able to produce all the resources that they need locally, while being connected globally. video by Alessio Verdolino


With the growth expectations of global urban populationin the coming years and taking into account that cities contribute 70% of the world’s CO2 emissions,rethinking the city for a better environmental performance is now a priority in the global agenda. World society has grown in cities, urban life is supposed to represent amplitude of opportunities for its inhabitants yet most have not evolved to respond to the demands of life in community. As cities continue to grow, new questions arise: how can the city of the XXI century become sustainable? what are the conditions that will enable the development of cities for the future?
Nowadays the availability of information and methods of obtaining data have enabled all types of agents from the
most diverse backgrounds to study cities. Architects and urbanists are not an exception because of the big role they play on the materialization of the city. In the occasion of the first Master of City and Technology in IAAC, the Studio tutored by Vicente Guallart and Rodrigo Rubio, posed an even bigger question: can a city be self-sufficient?

Types of City Metabolism_Cedric Price, Manuel Gausa, Paul Baran

To answer this, we examined the city as living organism. Starting from its anatomical systems, a deep research was developed around the main systems that keep the city functioning: water, energy, matter and mobility. This was backed up by studies centered on urban fabrics and the distributions of public spaces, facilities, housing and tertiary activities inside the city. The aim of this was to understand how the supply chain works for each cycle and how it affects the behavior and physical composition of the city. Thus, giving us insights about how by changing the metabolic processes of these cycles, we would be able to invert relations and make the city more autonomous but also more efficient in terms of resource management

Cycles and layers that compose the city

Self Sufficient Neighborhood Prototype Layout

As a conclusion, the development and design of the self-sufficient neighborhood prototype made evident that in order to attain an efficient urban environment it is necessary to defy the existing rules of production and management of resources in the way they have worked until now. Although it would take time to invert processes, an effort from all different agents must be made to convert cities into liveable and sustainable habitats that respond to the environmental reality we live today.


Houshold Structure in Self Sufficient Neighborhood


As you can see the diagram on the RIGHT, the distribution strategy is different for each housing category. Family Housing units are located closer to green spaces and more pedestrian areas. On the other hand, Shared Housing and Tourist Accommodation units are located around the perimeter which is more urban and closer to public transportation. Only exception in shared housing is the apartments for 65+, which exists closer to central green spaces and more pedestrian areas.

Every household has a different housing needs and requirements in a relation with their social and physical structure. The housing units of the Self Sufficient Neighborhood is categorized in three parts; Family Housing, Shared Housing and Tourist Accommodation. Family Housing units contain couple with children, single parent with children and couple. Shared Housing units consists of people, who could normally live alone but share apartments. These people are between 16 and 64 years old, 65 years old or older, and students. They live in 5 bedroom and 7 bedroom shared apartments. Half of the need for tourist accommodation is achieved by hotel rooms, and the other half is by couples in 2 bedroom apartments, who rent the extra bedroom in their apartment.

Housing Distribution in Self Sufficient Neighborhood

Housing Distribution in Self Sufficient Neighborhood


As the cities transform into new forms of habitations, new building typologies starts to appear, and become centers for food and energy production rather than just centers of consumption. Greenhouses, green rooftops, solar panels and thermal panels starts become an essential part of the new building typologies as they become instruments of production of resources in the city, which offers a new concept of living for the inhabitance of the city.

Mixed typology of housing in Self Sufficient Neighborhood Prototype

Mixed typology of housing in Self Sufficient Neighborhood Prototype

Another important strategy for the Self Sufficient Neighborhood is to have mixed typologies throughout the neighborhood. This is particularly important in order to manage the density and heights of the building blocks, but also to generate variety of spacial experiences for the people.


These three building diagrams show possible scenarios of blocks in the Self Sufficient Neighborhood Prototype. Each of them gives information about number of people, number of units and amount of square meters within the blocks. Three different scenarios of habitation represent different building blocks in different scales
and distribution in the neighborhood. In addition to this, you can also see the different types of energy and food production systems on each block.

Self Sufficient Neighborhood is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in City and Technology in 2015 by:
Students:Mohit Chaugule, Chiara Dall’Olio, Ilkim Er, Çaglar Gokbulut, Mayra López, Rahul Pudale, Seda Tugutlu, Sherine Zein, Cheghuai Zhou
Faculty: Vicente Guallart and Rodrigo Rubio
Assistants: Ruxandra Iancu and Alessio Verdolino