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The sustainable city of the future must exist inside, not outside, the world in which it lives. Inspired by the idea of a living organism, we have turned to the biological cell as the basic building block for a ‘living’ community in Backnang West—adaptable, scalable, and sustainable.

Habitat City is a blueprint for urban development that solves the most important design challenges for a developing city like Backnang, while creating flexibility for decades of growth. Manmade islands are designed to align with the natural processes of the river to improve user experience, increase habitat biodiversity, and serve as infrastructure for flood protection during seasonal changes in water levels. Riverbank habitat improvements will help control erosion, filter sediment and pollutants in stormwater, promote the health of aquatic ecosystems, while providing the community with opportunities to experience the riparian landscape up close.

Our cell-structured design approach incorporates small roads and intersections that maintain car access while allowing for safe, alternative modes of transportation. Shared mobility systems and electric charging stations are conveniently located throughout the community to allow easy access to various modes of mobility, including electric vehicles, scooters, bike stations and kayak launches. Overall, the masterplan illustrates that a living organism is more than a metaphor for an ecologically conscious future.

Entry and Award Here


Internationale Bauausstellung 2027


Backnang, Germany


Master Plan


Atelier L'abri

Jon Hein

Matthew Davis


Lou Arencibia



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