How would urban planners and architects design a city of the future? By 2050 the world’s population is expected to reach 9.8 billion. Nearly 70 per cent of this booming population of —6.7 billion people— is projected to live in urban areas. Lessons of the past and anticipating challenges of future architecture to ensure harmony between man and nature. When designing a city of the future 10 key design principles are inspected:
The future city is designed around natural features and forces, protecting wildlife habitat and natural resources. Based on a unified vision for the region, the city is compact and dense to limit impacts on the ecosystem. Protecting upland water systems and rigorous collection and cleansing of stormwater improve water quality. Wetland restoration and sponge-city measures revive habitats and protect against flooding and rising sea-levels.
In the future city, energy is 100% renewable. Enough power is produced within or close to the city for it to be self-sufficient. Area buildings share energy resources, generating as much as they consume. Waste becomes a resource to produce energy or alternative material. Landfills and abandoned industrial areas are gradually converted to other purposes after soil remediation. Wastewater is treated for irrigation or human consumption.
Travelling in the city of the future is more affordable, safe and convenient because of automated technology and high-speed rail. Fewer personal automobiles are on the road and more pedestrian space is available. Planners of the future should prioritize people over cars especially in the largest cities in the world where traffic is a great concern. Buildings incorporate natural elements and are largely modular, leading to faster production with less waste. Spaces can quickly transform to meet changing housing, industrial or business needs. Interspersed green spaces promote natural airflow in buildings whilst providing shade and social areas. Solar panels incorporated into all surfaces of the building’s facade during construction capture the sun’s energy.
In the densely populated and diverse city of the future, historical heritage is preserved and celebrated. Recreation, arts, and entertainment can be shared globally through virtual and augmented reality. Buildings are constructed more efficiently and include technology that can improve the quality of natural resources such as water, soil and air. Infrastructure is designed for pedestrian access with limited roads for cars. Regional high-speed rail stations become centres of business and social activities
The economy of the future city must work in tandem with policies that safeguard ecological sustainability. People adapt to more flexible working hours as artificial intelligence and automation become widespread. In a densely developed hub, sustainable land use within and outside its borders helps people thrive by providing water, food and recreation. High-capacity transit reduces emissions and speeds commute times.
Water harvesting and smart water management tools like smart senses for water control and rainwater collection can significantly save water. In lieu of gutters, bioswales (absorbent rain gardens) and pools collect and filter rainwater for reuse. All parks and infrastructure allow water to percolate through the soil to recharge the water table. Such “sponge city” measures are already being tested in Shanghai. Solar panels and roof gardens are common atop buildings, encouraging sustainable energy and small-scale farming. New communities and developments take advantage of advanced hydroponic technology for urban farming. Cities can cut waste and expenses of transporting food and vegetables by using buildings, roofs and city walls to grow food. This has great potential for ensuring food sustainability. Only local plant species are used in a gardening style known as xeriscaping, which requires little to no irrigation.
Future cities are a series of urban hubs: dense developments connected by high-speed rail. Futuristic architecture designs are shaped by ecology – letting nature regenerate and support rapidly growing urban populations.