When it comes to the future, it always hits us before we know it, only 30 years ago we could hardly imagine a world entirely dependent on the “world wide web”. When it comes to creating the most efficient, advanced, functional, and sustainable city we can today, you’ll be surprised at just how far our technology can take it. By integrating technologies used in a number of modern cities around the world from Berlin, Germany, to Reykjavic, Iceland, we can make a city which can function like a machine and put out almost zero harm to the environment today. This city would be like a utopian paradise, a ‘city of the future’ among us today, a ‘supercity’. Although, all of this seems far too fictional, it has already been considered by many countries and may be a reality in the near future. The first problem however, is making this city so efficient, and yet so green.
Today, we can use some of the world’s leading city innovations to create this ‘supercity’. First, we can use Japan’s idea of “maglev” electric monorail train/subway systems. Secondly, we can use Netherland’s idea of integrating bike paths just about everywhere to promote cycling, and making these bike paths out of solar panels. Dedicate, great amounts of space to parks and forestry like Stockholm, with 40% green space. Utilise geothermal energy similar to Newcastle and Iceland. Benefit from wind farms like in Oregon. Use roofs for effective growth of vegetation and even farming like Germany. Finally, have a strong, committed, and innovative workforce, to promote further improvements within the city. Realizing such a utopian city would be a real challenge, however could have great rewards as well. First of all, this city would have to include geometrically and spatially efficient areas to live, work, shop, and enjoy.
Pictured above is a project designed for a subway station in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Using spaces like this not only allows you to have more space for other parts of the city, but also allows you to bring just about everything closer, cutting transportation in half without sacrificing actual living space. Furthermore, buildings and spaces can be designed to utilise solar power on their surfaces for almost 12 hours daily, improving the sustainability of the city entirely. Another topic to be focused on is maintaining wildlife and natural habitats. The first, method of keeping forestry and habitats stable within a city is making underground highways like the “Big Dig” project in Boston.
This would not only prevent cutting through the middle of habitats, however also reducing the noise of cars. Furthermore, all cars would be electric, and there would be charging stations on every other block, similar to the way we have gas stations, a method adopted in Portland, Oregon. Finally, building upwards instead of outwards would be essential, along with planting trees, and dedicating space to parks and forests within the city would be crucial to sustainability of the wildlife. Finally, this city would have to be in the ideal location to benefit from, warm geographic location for solar panels, proximity to water for use of hydroelectricity and ocean current electricity, and even for an independent source of water. Most importantly, the land should be generally flat, to reduce transportation costs, and more importantly promote using bicycles, similar to the dutch city of Amsterdam.
Although, combining all of these factors into one ‘supercity’ might seem like quite a reach from today, this has already been tried before. In 2008 the government of Abu Dhabi, projected an idea to make a ‘supercity’ named ‘Masdar’ which translates to the ‘source’. This city was planned and designed to be the world’s most sustainable city, and home to many businesses, and researchers involved in renewable living. This city claims to be zero waste, zero carbon, and free of fossil fuels, a projection of the future of cities, while providing the highest quality of life at the lowest environmental impact. This city also boasts a driverless underground electric car underground system, along with game changing Light Rail system, and a sub-terranean high speed train, comparable to that of Japan’s. Furthermore, this city will use smart appliances which monitor and cut down waste and water use by 80%, and also re-use almost all wastes Finally, this city, raises the bar for, the rest of the world and has great impacts by spreading awareness, attracting environmental groups, and sharing its green energy among other cities. Masdar, is today’s unknown true SuperCity.