The green and blue backbone
The principal landscape infrastructure consists of the blue backbone, the central corridor running through the entire project area. Combining systems of vegetation with the system of high and low water reservoirs through numerous and complex solutions, it is indispensable to guarantee the hydrogeological safety of the area.
The central green corridor satisfies an environmental requirement which at the same time determines its character, no longer an urban park with facilities, but an area of high environmental value which, although remaining accessible, no longer offers facilities or is designated for specific activities. A mosaic of wetlands, low-lying areas, woodland and wet and dry vegetation which together represent a water regulation model. The central park will provide all the advantages of a large green area - pervious surfaces, reduced heat island effect and an improved microclimate, reduction in CO2 and fine particles and increased biodiversity.
This task intersects the research and landscape design work carried out by Andrea Kipar’s Milan LAND studio. Attention to landscape design is the strategy adopted by VenetoCity to tackle restoration of safe hydrogeological conditions in the area.
All components of VenetoCity integrate and develop the concepts and approach of the “smart city”, starting with regeneration of an area previously dedicated to industrial/manufacturing buildings and developing a "green" urban and architectural format.
VenetoCity is able to function as a smart city thanks to a complex process based on the best technologies available, ranging from trigeneration and geothermal plants for energy production to widespread use of solar energy, rainwater recovery, inclusion of extensive green spaces, pedestrian and cycle paths and the creation of lakes, ponds and detention basins.
The point of departure for all this is the system adopted to design the area and buildings, based on the maximum possible reduction of energy consumption and exploiting the site's environmental potential.
VenetoCity is thus able to flank these basic design solutions with pioneering technological installations able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by high-tech (consumption monitoring, building automation, etc.).
VenetoCity will undergo environmental certification according to the LEED standards, one of the most important protocols in the world of sustainable architecture.
The area incorporates basins of water which both collect rainwater runoff from the built area and represent a reservoir, a buffer available during exceptional events, able to guarantee the functionality of the ecological corridor and creating a number of different habitats. The water thus collected is then reutilised for irrigation or cleaning.
There will also be a wastewater treatment system with a number of areas designated for phytopurification.
This approach to the theme of water storage is designed to "contaminate" a much wider area, helping to resolve the criticalities and at the same time providing a solution to the long-term problem by creating a hydrogeological structure which takes account not just of possible exceptional events, but also of potential future changes in the climate scenario.
Water collection will also allow the hydrogeological balance of the site to be restored, reducing the extent of impervious surfaces through the creation of detention basins, ditches and purification basins.
The energy policy aims to promote sustainable development of the area by reducing the energy requirements of the buildings through passive design. This takes into account the distance between the buildings to avoid casting shadows, the orientation of the buildings to allow use of solar thermal energy, the relationship between opaque and transparent surfaces and the inclusion of vegetation to improve natural micro-ventilation.
Trigeneration, geothermal, biomass and photovoltaic power…these are the keywords at the centre of VenetoCity's response to the energy challenge to guarantee low cost energy supplies with low environmental impact.
- One of the sources used is gas trigeneration, thanks to a centralised point for the combined production of heating, cooling and electrical energy. The system includes a generator, a heat recovery system, an absorption unit and electrical connections.
- The second source is geothermal, using the temperature difference of the underground water to reduce the difference between the original temperature of the liquid used by the heating installations and the temperature necessary to heat or cool the buildings.
- The third source is solar, using the photovoltaic installations constructed in VenetoCity and provided for in the architectural design of the buildings themselves.
- The fourth derives from biomass, with interesting opportunities for the local agricultural sector.
The combination of these four elements provides constant supplies of low-impact energy with long-term economic advantages. All these systems can be "monitored" and controlled remotely.
As regards the communications network serving the area, the planned infrastructure will be in line with the most recent technologies characteristic of smart cities.
In particular, there will be cableways and all the other elements necessary to interconnect the individual buildings and users with the wide area fibre-optic networks of the leading operators, thus guaranteeing users top state-of-the-art performance in terms of bandwidth and support of the latest generation multimedia applications.
There will also be a "private" fibre-optic network available in public areas and individual buildings, carrying multiple forms of information aimed at optimising energy consumption and improving user services.
In particular, from a central position, it will be possible to:
- remotely control the energy production and distribution systems;
- control the energy consumption of individual users and the operational status of the relative installations;
- control the public lighting systems;
- control the irrigation and rainwater pumping systems.
The fibre-optic network will also allow coverage of public areas with hotspot WiFi services, guaranteeing users and visitors access to the internet and the multimedia and promotional content provided by the commercial activities present in the area.
The security of the area will also be guaranteed by the integrated video surveillance and anti-intrusion systems of the individual users, with the possibility of interaction through the fibre-optic network, also in communication with surveillance centres and the police.
The sustainable waste management system to be implemented in VenetoCity includes an “integrated” collection system, eliminating the need for road bins, reducing the traffic of refuse collection vehicles which will be limited to the dedicated areas and improving the service to the user, thus making the urban environment more decorous and liveable in general.