The world has been going through a downtrodden path of inefficient energy usage. In fact, if we look past into our own history, we would notice that even ancient cities like the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley civilization and ancient Rome had better drainage systems and energy usage than many countries at present have. All these point towards one thing – our style of living could really undergo a major change. This change would be for the better.
Today we have all the resources, but our arrangement and usage of these resources are haphazard. We are destroying the world around us and almost everyone agrees that we could do something better to improve the way we consume things.
Mankind has spent the first half of technology in a very unmindful way; the next half is going to be much better, or so we hope at least. The cities of the future are going to take a much better shape, some of which can only be assumed as science fiction at present. But from some of the recent discoveries we get a few pointers about what we’re going to expect to see in the future.
What will the cities of the future look like?
Many of you might have already heard of smart future cities. You might already have an idea of how they would look like. Songdo in South Korea might serve as a good example of what smart cities would look like.
It took $40 billion to make this place and it was well worth it. There were sensors planted everywhere around this city and the central garbage system automatically sucked the garbage out of every house. Nobody had to throw garbage out anymore!
Taking a hint from the above mentioned smart city, we can guess how our future cities are going to look like. There have been many speculations, but bringing it down to the realities, here are a few ways we can expect to see our future cities:
- Live buildings: This means that our homes and buildings will become more aware of how we use our energy and will adapt to our requirements individually. Even buildings are supposed to be monitoring our energy usage, etc. This is likely to happen because it can save us a lot of unnecessary energy costs.
- Self driven cars: This is one of the most likely things to happen. Right now many cars are in the process of running with electricity. If that happens, then controlling your car via remote or even automated driving isn’t impossible.
- Smart grids: Each individual and their power source will connect with one another so that energy is used efficiently and money is saved. It will also reduce power cuts and outages.
- Solar powered transport: With everything moving the energy efficient way, it leaves less doubt as to why the transport system would not be dependent on solar power as well. But one thing is for sure– the transport system will become lightning fast when that happens. The cost of travel may also be reduced drastically.
- High speed distance travel: Here comes the coolest thing – you might even be able to travel a distance of miles within minutes via the solar pods. These pods will be depressurized and elevated, just like the Hyperloop concept of Elon Musk.
- Efficient water usage: There is a possibility of using rain water harvesting techniques, but it does not stop at that. The future cities hold a much better promise of using our resources efficiently and using water properly is a big part of that.
- Energy independent homes: How many of us have thought about having our own resources at least once? Almost all of us have dreamt of not paying the bills and utilizing energy from our own resources. There is a chance that people will shift towards the energy independent homes in the future, getting their energy from wind turbines, solar panels, etc.
- Solar panels at unlikely places: The entire city scenario will change and this will include the visibility of some interesting and energy efficient things like the solar panels. These solar panels might be visible along the sidewalks or the playgrounds and jogger’s parks, etc.
Coming back to the present …
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the urban population will continue to rise in the next fifty years. This means there will be more houses and other developments. In fact, according to the NRDC reports, there is going to be 89 million homes and 17.5 billion square meters under residential and retail space.
There is now, more than ever, a rising need for creating smart cities. With the rural population migrating into the larger cities, the cities have become over populated. Also it could use better hygiene and management.
The smart cities which will have better sanitation and energy efficiency even in the third world countries should be what we should strive for.
As of now, it seems like the future cities will be much greener cities. There will be much better utilization of energy. In fact, we are most likely to shift from fuel consumption to electrical consumption. This electrical consumption will also be greener because solar energy and energy generated from Lithium batteries might be what we are headed towards.
Some technological implications of the future
Some people believe that the world might be dominated by a central force, much like the Big Brother – watching your every move. Those who are conspiracy lovers are hell bent on believing that the world will be dominated by what is called a New World Order.
These assumptions, even dark, cannot be absolutely ridiculed. There is a hint that the world will be very centralized in the future. Holding the hands of technologies such as big data, one can assume that the internet of all things will be holding information about everyone and everything. This could be the way things get rounded up in the future.
In fact, it has already started happening in some parts of the world. IBM has 2000 projects already undergoing in different cities of countries all over. They used to collect crime prevention analytics around places such as Oregano, California and Portland. They have also got a project in Rio de Janeiro where they have to build operations center which are also called the nerve centers of the city.
There’s a buzz that nerve centers like these will eventually be spread throughout the world and they will control the central analytics of the place. According to technology giants like Intel, Cisco, IBM and Siemens, the smartest cities will be those that are closely connected with the internet.
World’s First Smart Nation
The process of improving our surroundings has already begun. Singapore, after reaching its peaks of investment sector, is now aiming to be recognized as the first smart nation of the world. In fact, they are striving to achieve this by 2020. Their constructions are now giving priority to going green. Vertical greenery is one of the things which have become a main aspect of their architecture. There is a 24 story residential area in Singapore which has found its place in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest vertical garden.
The best part is that they see greenery for more than just an aesthetic tool. As Matthew Clifford, the head of the energy and sustainable services of greater China says “It’s an energy tool, not just an aesthetic. The city is an importer of energy and realizes it has finite resources so development is heavily skewed towards energy efficiency.”
The cities of the future might see some hanging gardens over their balconies (just like infinity pools).
Will the future cities become a farming community?
Yes, just like in the move “Interstellar” you might want to think that the world will become more self sustained. This might include growing your own food at your own place. Given that the population of the Earth will increase however, it might be a fantasy to think that land in such huge proportions will be available readily.
But it is true that the world has been facing some food crisis of late. The world might face a problem of feeding the entire population in future. Hence the society might become bent towards growing and developing everything of its own.
By analyzing all the points it seems that we are headed towards are greener and self sustained environment in future. This is what all experts will believe how our future cities hold for us.