Luxury in China has developed a partiality toward sustainability and ethics.
A forthcoming retail development in Wuhan, China, will feature an urban farm on the roof of a five-story shopping mall.
The mall is part of a larger effort to create a sustainable neighborhood in the formerly industrial area. The neighborhood will have parks, offices, housing, banks, post offices, and everything its residents need in their everyday lives. It will also provide amenities to encourage sustainable transportation, including chargers for electric cars and dedicated bike parking. If residents need to travel, they can take advantage of the new tram or monorail.
Arthur Benedetti, design principal for 5+design, the California-based firm that designed the shopping mall and some other buildings in the development, sees the new retail space as a means of promoting a sense of community.
“We wanted to create more of a place to meet casually with friends and family. Spread throughout the exterior and interior of the project are these zones that create gathering spots for the community, and everything is connected to parks that lead to the waterfront,” Benedetti said in an interview with Fast Company.
The shopping center is designed to meet LEED ND standards, with every building meeting a minimum of LEED Gold certification for green building. Its terraced design will encourage visitors to go up to the urban farm on the roof, which will offer educational programs and individual garden plots. Functionality was a paramount concern in designing the farm, says Benedetti.
“A lot of times you see projects with green space on the roof, but there aren’t a lot of uses there. So you really have a difficult problem drawing people up. Or if they go up there isn’t a lot to hold them there.”
Since property is expensive in China, malls tend to be several stories in height. They also often lack the “vast parking fields” of U.S. shopping centers. These factors and others present unique development opportunities.
“In the U.S., malls are separated, and people are struggling to find other ways to bring people to them,” Benedetti says. “It’s interesting the way that the world has not only caught up to the U.S., but definitely surpassed us in the way that we define these retail spaces.”
image credit: 5plusdesign.com