City for People,
Not Cars

Tencent’s two-million-square-meter “Net City” in Shenzhen, China, places the needs of people and the environment before cars in an interconnected, organic ecosystem.

At roughly the size and shape of Midtown Manhattan, Net City features a new Tencent office, a residential neighborhood, schools, retail and other amenities to provide working and living conveniences for the community. The scale, height and spacing of the buildings varies organically, ranging in height from one floor to 30, to create differentiated spaces and experiences, and to provide strong sightlines to nature, other buildings and the rest of the city.

Inside Net City, vehicles are diverted into basement levels around each plot and separated into fast and slow traffic zones. A green corridor that connects all plots is reserved for pedestrians, bicycles and autonomous vehicles. A public transit network accommodates subway stops, high-capacity buses and ferries.

Sustainability is a primary driver of the design, from photovoltaic panels on rooftops, to sensors that track environmental performance and flooding, to the comprehensive transportation network that prioritizes public transit, bicycles and pedestrian access. The design also meets the goals of China’s “Sponge City” initiative by collecting water on campus, managing runoff and flooding, and planting mangrove trees at the shoreline’s edge. Public green spaces are found throughout the plan and include commons, groves, wetlands and recreation parks.