Despite various initiatives on smart growth and sustainability, most cities around the world today have one major drawback in common: they are unplanned or at least semi-planned! The current picture of modern cities is a result of a halfhazard compromise between what the residents wanted, what the businesses needed and what government interests deemed necessary. Thus, many west coast US cities are build around the car, with great distances of urban sprawl, and many east coast US cities are build around eco-friendly public transit cities.
In contrast, cities of the future will likely be much more planned, organised places. And they need to be! With the earth’s population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050 with the majority of people living in cities, the cities of the future will require a lot of planning. Especially in countries like China or India where new cities are literally being constructed from the ground up. There a lot of new ideas which are expected to play an important part in the cities of the future. Six of these are:
1) Cluster Cities: A city made of deconcentrated hubs or networks connected by WiFi and high-speed trains is expected to provide a more sustainable and liveable response to the problem of trafficking people, food and water to small, localised areas.
2) Water Reduction: New techniques such as using raiwater locally to save energy and keep water cleaner are expected to eliminate the huge waste created by the obsolete water transportation, distribution and sewage systems currently in use.
3) Mass Transit: Data sharing, achieved through the use of high-tech software programmes, is expected to make mass transit smarter, so that it can pose a more efficient and convenient alternative to driving.
4) Green Building: The utilisation of more environmentally intelligent building solutions, both in the construction of new building and the retrofitting of existing ones is expected to save huge amounts of energy and benefit the environment.
5) Carbon Neutral Energy Production: Through technology solutions such as solar cells, rooftop wind turbines, energy produced from domestic garbage and even micro-power generation, future cities will be able to produce more energy for more people while lowering their carbon footprints. This way, they can become energy-independent.
6) Vertical Farms: Although it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, vertical farms are a viable solution that can significantly reduce the energy required for food transportation, lower crop loss from shipping and storage, recycle their own water and use fewer pesticides to produce fresher and healthier food for city dwellers.
The entire article, including a short video about sustainable future cities, can be found here.