Cities are dynamic to keep pace with rapid population gains. With good city design, the trend could be a positive path for sustainability. There’s always been something fantastical about imagining the cities of the future. We watch science-fiction films that conceptualize flying cars, teleportation machines and floating green parks. Some of us even fantasize about cities above the clouds. By 2050, 70 % of the world’s population will live in urban areas, so our cities need to adapt to sustain this population influx. While digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT) certainly will define the cities of the future, so will radical infrastructure and architecture.

Source: Gerard Lynch the major transformation will be as follows,

  1. Cars will disappear:

Urban space is valuable. And cars take up too much of it. Between roads, bridges, parking spaces and physical vehicles, most downtown areas actually give away 50-60 percent of space to cars — a trend that, frankly, makes for uglier cities. Congestion also highly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to 5.5 million deaths a year.

The “Great City” planned for the outskirt of Chengdu, China, for example, is expected to house 80,000 residents. The environmentally sensitive satellite city is the master plan of Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture. It’s just 1.3 square kilometers, meaning everything is only a 15-minute walk from downtown. So while cars technically are allowed, most residents simply won’t need them.

 

  1. Higher density

Cities will be designed and built on smaller areas of land, making it easier for us to walk to shops, schools and restaurants. The land that we do use will work harder, so the areas under bridges and on rooftops will make for creative use of space.

But cities won’t be complete concrete jungles, either. Within China’s Great City, 15 percent of the land will be put aside for green space, for example. We may even get to see some floating parks. A $130 million park is already getting built over the Hudson River in New York City, and it’s expected to be completed by 2019.

  1. Buildings will get taller According to the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitats (CTBUH), we’re actually entering a “mega tall” era, as buildings taller than 1,969 feet are set to double by 2020.

While only three mega tall structures exist at present, in Dubai, Mecca and Shanghai, three more will be completed in the coming years in Wuhan, Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah. In fact, the Jeddah Tower will be the tallest in the world, standing at an incredible .62 mile tall. While it’s easy to argue vertical cities will be the silver bullet to our population influx woes, there is a limit.

In an era when flying cars actually are starting to be developed in joint effort by Uber and NASA to take back our street space from vehicles, much of our urban development also will be focused on ground-level, pedestrian-zone urban interactions.

All in all, we want to make sure these high-tech cities are actually places we want to live, not isolating cells in the sky.

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