February 12, 2024 | Miles Brucker

Xiong'an, China: The City of the Future


Xiong'an, China

Xiong'an New Area, China—the City of the Future—is constructed entirely to hypothetically predict how cities might look and function in the near future.

From sensors to robots, essentially, it will be a livable city that can think for itself.

Xiong'an Split Gallery

Location

Xiong’an New Area is a state-level new area in the Baoding area of Hebei, China. It is located about 62 miles southwest of Beijing and 31 miles east of downtown Baoding.

It spans across 27,200 hectares.

Xiong'anN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Purpose

The main function of Xiong’an New Area is to serve as a development hub for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) economic triangle.

Some "non-core" functions of the Chinese capital are expected to migrate there, including state offices,

Xiong'anN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Building & Completion

Xiong’an New Area was established in 2017, but will be several years before it is complete. The city is planned to be established by 2035, and to be fully completed by the middle of the 21st century.

It is currently in the “Masterplan Concept Stage”, and will cost a total of about $580 billion USD when it is done.

West Facade Of Xiongan Railway StationN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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The Plan

The plan for Xiong’an New Area is to combine Smart City technology and Sponge City solutions—meaning it will basically include futuristic technology, whilst still maintaining an abundance of natural areas like trees and parks.

Construction Site Of Xiongxian Station, Xiong'an Rail Transit Line R1N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Development

The Chinese government is focusing on a high-quality, efficient, smart city environment that encourages equality and sustainability.

With nearly six years into development, let’s find out what already happening, and what else China has planned.

Government Of Xiong'anCharlie fong, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Driverless Bus

The Driverless bus is one example of how China plans to improve efficiency of transportation.

The driverless bus will be equipped with fridges and screens and be able to recognize traffic lights and road signs, and reduce speed or stop in case of obstacles.

It will be free for residents to use.

bus self drivingSuwin66, Shutterstock

Self-Driving Taxis

Similar to the driverless bus, there will also be self-driving taxis to shuttle residents around the cities. In addition to the smart capabilities, 90% of transportation will be electric.

Yellow electric taxi chargingChesky, Shutterstock

Digital Roads

Much like the busses, the “digital roads” are also smart.

In Xiong’an New Area there are already 153 km of "digital roads," where sensors on the lamp poles can monitor the number and speed of vehicles, which will reduce traffic jams, and maintain safety on the roads.

Xiong'an BusN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Business Center

Xiong’an’s business service center is the area’s first landmark urban complex. It has a total floor area of 900,000 square miles.

Currently, it holds more than 40 companies, and most of the building is run using smart technology, including facial recognition sensors.

Alibaba Group's provisional office at Xiong'anN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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Infrastructure Rules

Apparently, the city will have rules on how tall buildings can be, how close together they can be located, and how much green space must be surrounding major areas.

This is to enhance the living space and make the city more open and enjoyable to residents, unlike other mega cities in China.

Xiong'an Citizen Service Center, Autumn, 2019Charlie fong, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Green Space

Since late 2017, Xiong'an has added more than 31,333 hectares of trees, raising its forest coverage from 11 percent to 34 percent.

Eventually, a full 70% of the entire new area will be green space or wetland.

Futuristic Citydenisgo, Shutterstock

Wetlands

Efforts are also being made to restore Baiyangdian Lake, which previously had the worst water quality in China’s grading system. It has since improved quite a bit and there are now 252 species of wild birds.

Boat On Baiyangdian, Apr 2018颜邯, CC BY-SA 4.0 , Wikimedia Commons

Buildings: Recyclable Material

Buildings are built using recyclable material such as wood and reused plastics. This is in coordination with creating a green, but smart city.

Ping'anyuan Community, Xiong'anN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

5G Network

The 5G network will be universal and all of the city’s data will be stored on an online urban cloud. The city will include AI sensor systems to efficiently run logistics.

The 5G network enables interconnected infrastructure on a grand scale.

Smart cityjamesteohart, Shutterstock

Robots

Upon full completion, the futuristic city will include several robots that serve many different purposes around the city, such as: policing, delivering goods, cleaning, and more.

This means your coffee/food/packages will be brought to you by a robot, not a real person. And when you do something wrong, you’ll be confronted by a robot.

3d rendering android robotPhonlamai Photo, Shutterstock

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Public Charging Stations

Many public charging stations have already been implemented, including public benches where the seat is a solar panel and has various charging ports for your devices.

Xiong'an Ronghe Xingxian Middle SchoolN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Urban Farms

This Smart city is said to have vertical farmlands in some spots, but also include underground smart farms where produce is grown using artificial lights rather than sunlight, and take up less space above ground.

Much like everything else in the city, these farms will be mostly run by robots and AI.

smart agricultureMONOPOLY919, Shutterstock

The “15-Minute Living Circle”

According to the plan, the city will form a “15-minute living circle”, which means residents will be able to walk 5 minutes to send children to school, 10 minutes to markets, and 15 minutes to hospitals.

Essentially, everything needed for a typical family will be within a 15-minute walking distance.

futuristic 3000ad, Shutterstock

Top Notch Schools

Apparently, in many cities in China, high-quality schooling can be challenging to find for some residents and not all are permitted to attend.

However, in Xiong'an, teachers are brought in from high-quality city schools, and residents of the town will have full access to quality education for their children.

Xiong'an Ronghe Lemin Primary SchoolN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

A Livable City

Xiong'an will have a community-based design with public services available to residents, walkable streets, and plenty of public transportation options.

The Chinese government continues to maintain their position that Xiong'an is a Smart City, but it is made for the people.

Sign Of Xiongan Railway Station On Platform 2-3N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

New Residents

One of the main ways China is attracting new talent to live and work in the Xiong'an is by using their points-based system.

Residents must qualify for residence through the points-based mechanism.

city futuristicjamesteohart, Shutterstock

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The Points-based System

Individuals must apply and qualify for residency in the new smart city, using its points-based system. This system is said to be similar, or maybe even in conjunction with, China’s social credit system.

This is apparently an effort to deepen the reform of its population management system.

Xiong'an New Area, Apr 2019Yan Han, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Current Residents

Currently, the only residents of the New Area are people who work there, and their families. Most employees came with their employers, who relocated from Beijing.

Some residents were already living in the area prior to its major transform from farmland to smart city, and were permitted to stay.

Aowei MansionN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Healthcare

Xiong'an New Area will have a world-class hospital complete with as many robots and as much AI as possible to keep it “smart”.

Things like robots, drones, smart screens, and various forms of telemedicine will be included.

global health conceptTippaPatt, Shutterstock

Advanced Monitoring System

As with most smart cities, Xiong'an New Area will be heavily monitored using cameras, sensors, and other security solutions.

These are said to enhance safety within the city as they provide real-time information on traffic, air quality, crime, and healthcare needs.

futuristic interface screenmetamorworks, Shutterstock

Smart Infrastructure

In all, or most, buildings in this new-age smart city, there will be virtually no light switches—all monitoring and controlling of internal systems, such as lighting, heating and cooling, will be controlled with sensors. This may even include locking systems.

This is the same for street lighting, and even the utilities in resident’s homes.

3D Rendering of neon mega citykkssr, Shutterstock

Advantages of a Smart City

Smart cities can improve the quality of life for their residents in several ways, including providing more efficient services, reducing wait times and inconvenience, and providing added safety.

Business smart city conceptShutterOK, Shutterstock

Disadvantages of a Smart City

While the cameras and sensors may provide more safety, they also provide less privacy. Every move you make within the smart city will be recorded, this includes on the streets, as well as in your own home.

All technological services (such as cell phones and internet activity) will be interconnected and data will be stored in their cloud.

If you want to live in a city with smart technology, you should be prepared to completely give up your right to privacy.

Security Camera SurveillanceGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

Is a “Smart City” a smart choice?

In most areas of China, citizens are already subjected to the Social Credit system, which can easily and quickly reduce freedom for most people. So, the points-based system in Xiong'an may not be a top deterrent for many Chinese residents.

In fact, the smart city is actually appealing to them because of its ratio of infrastructure to green space, which is not as common in many larger Chinese cities.

West Facade Of Xiongan Railway StationN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Is a “Smart City” a smart choice?

For citizens in many other parts of the world, a smart city could be appealing due to its futuristic ways, but the need to govern the city with a points-based system would not likely be well received.

However, a city run by robots will require residents to live fairly peaceful and harmoniously with their robotic neighbors.

Robot Human fingerssdecoret, Shutterstock

Global Opinions

According to various sources, many Chinese citizens are not only in-favor of a smart city in China, but they are rather excited about it. The green space and high-quality education availability are high on the priority list for them. 

However, many other areas around the globe have a differing opinion. While tourists may be itching to check it out, many people feel a smart city with such restrictions may not be suitable for their needs in terms of living there permanently. 

smart citiesSong_about_summer, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

A smart city like Xiong'an New Area comes with many appealing futuristic features, considering almost the entire city will be run by robots, but it still has many restrictions.

Either way, China plans to have about 3 million residents in Xiong'an by the time of its completion.

Platforms Of Xiongan Railway StationN509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons


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