By Jody McCutcheon
Ever wanted to take a whirlwind tour of Europe but didn’t have the time or money for travel? Europa City will offer you the next best thing. With generous nods to multiculturalism, eco-friendliness, leisure activities and shopping, Europa City essentially will be a European theme park, with six different areas, each thematically expressing a particular European district.
The neatest aspect of this particular project is its seamless blending of urban needs and efficiencies with the natural environment and healthy living. Designed by Danish architect firm Bjarke Ingels Goup (BIG) and situated on eighty hectares of land in the Triangle de Gonesse between Charles de Gaulle Airport and downtown Paris, Europa City will rely on solar, biofuel and geothermal energy sources.
Most striking, though, are the green rooftops. They will absorb sunlight, produce oxygen, provide insulation, recycle and process rainwater for city use, treat grey water, and—best of all—from above they’ll resemble rolling hills, a sly kind of camouflage. Beneath, of course, will be a hub of human activity, with retail stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment facilities, with plans also in the works for a water park, circus, and an indoor skiing hill.
Europa City will be laid out in an intertwining series of looping streets and walkways, with transportation provided by bicycle and electric vehicles. The loop design allows people to get around the city quickly and easily without getting lost. Energy sources will also loop around. The waste heat from retail buildings will be recycled to heat leisure spas; water will be reused for park irrigation; and the ski slope and pool will operate in sync to produce an efficient heating-cooling exchange. Europa City will even provide surrounding suburbs with district heating and cooling.
With an expected completion date around 2021, Europa City is a blueprint of sustainability for future commercial development. The concept offers an agglomeration of multicultural, urban experiences, all the while screaming, You don’t need fossil fuels! What more could a theme park offer?