Designing Urban Futures


Incremental Development Strategies
Urban Design

The Pingdi area of Shenzhen is the site of one of many new towns planned for development in China. Current new town development processes are based off of top-down structures, where city masterplans are executed in linear fashion. This approach regularly produces uniform cities lacking in diversity and vitality.



This research explores an incremental approach to development, based on an iterative design and planning process.* Masterplanned visions of the city are implemented and iterated over time. Public transit, open space and water absorption systems provide frameworks from which a range of development scenarios can arise. Data from built projects -- from energy consumption and resident safety to transit use and community involvement -- informs feedback mechanisms for iterative change and future development decisions.

* more detailed view of incremental development frameworks and details at bottom of page


Metrolines, multi-model streets and green networks form frameworks from which a range of development sequences can arise, creating a city that can respond directly to demographic shifts, economic change and environmental uncertainties.



The incremental approach occurs at the city, district, neighborhood and parcel scales. The process allows for more diversity in the design, orientation and organization of cities, creating a more inclusive and dynamic urban framework where the character of the city is not a predetermined outcome but the result of ongoing conversation.







Incremental development's feedback systems offer strong avenues for plan refinement and improvement. A more incremental approach to development allows for more and better feedback from resident use, helping to further align the way we plan and design with the way spaces are actually used.