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BK Magazine BK Currents
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Planners, politicians, engineers, and scientists are already making audacious plans for the living spaces of the future and some of the visions for future cities seem to be inspired by science fiction. However, the following five cities have already begun the process of planning themselves into existence:
1. The Venus Project: Here's a video that describes the plan for this sort of a city. The designer, Jacque Fresco, believes that all buildings and structures should be prefabricated and then shipped on site, allowing for a more coordinated and far less costly construction. Standardizing basic structural elements allows for alterations to be arranged to meet different requirements in terms of new technology and various structural designs.
The circular shape will permit the most efficient use of available resources which also include time; time spent in either leaving for work or simply walking about. Since it has no “hard edges” like a normal rectangular city would, “walking around town” takes on a more literal meaning and thus, saving you time on your return trip.
2. The Floating City: The Chinese have already started drawing the blueprints for their floating city--a response to rising sea levels and climate change. With an area of about 4 square miles, this future metropolis will be comprised of hexagonal modules interconnected by an underwater network of streets and pathways.
But the Chinese are not alone. Japanese building firm Shimizu Corporation unveiled plans for a completely self-sufficient floating ecotopia back in 2010.
3. The Arctic City: The Russians noticed that the Siberian tundra was ripe for colonization and have already designed a self-sustaining city named Umka. It will be built on Kotelny island, roughly 1000 miles from the North Pole with temperatures that rarely rise above freezing. The design will resemble something like an international space station but on a much larger scale (to serve over 5,000 citizens).
Given the elements that will surround it and because it will be located in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, the entire city will be self-sustaining and self-contained.
4. The Earthscraper. While everyone else builds skyscrapers, Mexico is planning the opposite--an earthscraper. Essentially, this is a building that burrows down into the ground and is a 65 storey, 82,000 square foot inverted pyramid. Architects and engineers are conducting ongoing feasibility studies to determine how best to move forward.
American designer Matthew Fromboluti has drawn up his own plans for another underground settlement to be located near Bisbee, AZ, called Above Below. The plan in both cases is to use geothermal energy to make the colony as self-sufficient as possible.
5. The City Tower: Dubai is already well known for its skyscrapers, but the Dubai City Tower is another matter entirely. This building--announced in 2008--will be over seven times taller than the Empire State Building at 7,900 feet, with 400 floors and a 120 mph bullet train that will act as the main elevator.
Planned for completion in 2025, this will literally be an entire city in just one building