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University of Bath

C. Hails, O. Kapus, G. Matthews, L. Tang, J. Wong

The year is 2025, and the UK government is pursuing a ‘Vital City’ policy for the strategic densification of cities. Housing shortages are falling as new urban neighbourhoods are formed. However, essential infrastructure is strained, and tension grows between existing metropolitan communities and new suburban arrivals.

Our proposal explores how pre-fabricated modular units called Sky Grids, supported by cross-laminated timber grid systems, could be installed in neighbourhoods under stress to meet the demands of a growing urban population. The grids are designed for a range of functions, from doctor’s surgeries to sky parks, all accessed by a central structural core. Providing this essential infrastructure will help reduce social tension and foster a sense of belonging in new neighbourhoods.

Each Sky Grid accommodates a range of communities, encouraging interaction between individuals from different backgrounds. Within them are ‘urban sofas’ – human-scale interventions that promote play, collaboration and communication between strangers. The idea is to increase social cohesion and encourage citizens to feel part of a larger urban family.

Daily we immerse ourselves in echo chambers that expel difference rather than celebrating it. Sky Grids deliberately interrupt this echo chamber, aiding the formation of socially cohesive neighbourhoods and promoting a sense of belonging in our cities.