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Ecopolis - Concept for a New City in the Sakhalin Region

With its strategic location, the far eastern Federal District of the Russian Federation, Sakhalin, plays a progressively more important role in the global and regional economy. The international competition is launched to develop a concept for a new city in the southern part of the island, as an example of an innovative fast developing city in the Asia-Pacific region.


Europe and Northern America




Competition Winner
Masterplan for the new city in Sakhalin region

Project Details


  • Korsakow, Sakhalin (Russia)


  • Competition


  • Wowhaus
  • Namura Institute



In 2021, our office emerged as a contender in an international competition to develop a concept for a new city on Sakhalin Island. The challenge of the competition was to develop a concept for a fundamentally new city model that not only harmonizes with nature but also optimizes the use of its resources through smart and green technologies.

Currently, the region's economy relies heavily on non-renewable energy production. Our proposal seeks to ensure that Ecopolis is intricately woven into the new port development, the existing urban framework of Korsakov city, and the natural landscape of the region, promoting a seamless integration that supports both the environment and the community.

Ecopolis is Integrated, Diverse, and Circular

We imagine a city integrated with the surrounding social, spatial and economic context. A city that lives together with the ocean, tapping into its culture through the proximity to the port and an active waterfront.

We imagine a city for the people who live it, with vibrant public spaces and innovative architectures, embracing diverse urban typologies, social groups and public functions.

A city that takes advantage of the rich natural resources surrounding it while respecting them; that turns natural threats into values and virtuous circular systems to foster a prosperous and sustainable economy.

Concept pillars - integration, diversity and circularity

Strategy for Integration

The expansion of the port of Korsakov will turn it into a global hub of maritime transit, providing new economic and commercial opportunities for Russia and the Sakhalin region. However the consequences of such transformation, hind potential risks of social conflicts, extensive use of environmental resources and uneven access to the port economies. To ensure the sustainable development of Ecopolis and the future port, they need to grow together and in accordance with the surrounding urban agglomeration.

This proposal strivers for the spatial integration of Ecopolis with the existing urban fabric of Korsakov, with the topography of this territory, and with the ocean and its economies.

Integration into the urban agglomeration
Integration into the landscape 
Integration with the ocean and its economy 

Ecopolis extends in accordance with the topographical and natural features of the territory. It develops on top of the hills, away from the steep slopes of the rivers. Its boundaries are porous and transparent, welcoming the surrounding forests into the urban fabric. Biodiversity corridors cross the city and complement the built environment with green public spaces.

We propose a compact city that minimises soil consumption and maximises the spaces dedicated to nature, including productive forests, recreational parks and agriculture fields.

Strategy for Diversity

A vibrant city is one that embraces heterogeneous urban spaces, a multicultural society and diverse public functions.

We propose three main urban centres – Science, Culture and Business centres – located where the street network intensifies. Each of them presents unique urban typologies, architectures and functions.

Proposal for distinct, yet integrated centres. Street network, diversity strategy, green structure
Spatial configuration of diversity strategy. Green marks the science cluster, orange - is the culture & education cluster, and blue is the business cluster.

Sakhalin Tech, with its laboratories and distributed research campus, is located in the north centre. This is an innovative research and industrial park for urban technologies, operating at the regional and national scale. It integrates institutes and residential buildings and productive facilities together to combine research with high quality living spaces.

At the heart of Ecopolis stands the cultural centre, a dense neighbourhood with vibrant public spaces and cultural facilities such as the public university and the community centre. High density multifunctional buildings integrate commercial services and residential functions and intensify the urban character of the city.

The business centre develops along the coast, close to the new cargo port. It provides the residential neighbourhoods of the ecopolis with an access to the coast and activates the waterfront with workshops and small enterprises.

Strategy for Circularity

Opportunities and risks - from linear to circular flows

Sakhalin is an energy-intensive region. Current flows of raw materials (oil, gas, natural resources) and manufactured products (food and fisheries) cross the island and are channeled through the port of Korsakov.

Ecopolis has the opportunity to capture and reuse these flows. We propose to convert the Island economy, currently based on the production of non renewable energy sources, into a value production chain through minimising transportation of natural resources and maximizing waste upcycling; to  make a more sustainable use of the row and processed resources while fostering local economies.

We propose to connect the existing production flows in order to turn outputs into inputs of other processes

A hybrid system of distributed facilities scattered in the city to collect and upcycle inorganic waste produced by the neighbouring city of Korsakov and the port. This is combined with a centralised waste processing facility located in the north side of the area where organic waste is heated and converted into electricity.

Part of the output energy flows back to the city and partially feeds the production sites located in the north side of the project area, namely the wood-based materials manufacturing plant, the agroindustry park, and the wastewater treatment plant. These facilities supply the city with construction materials, food, and clean water, reducing the environmental and economic externalities of imported goods.

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