What will our future cities look like?

2015-11-26 07:43

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While it is easy to get swept away by visions of flying cars, metallic structures and underwater cities, the reality is our cities have to become smarter, more efficient and capable of holding large populations.

The World Health Organisation predicts that 70% of the world’s population will be urbanites by 2025. This means cities that were built for a much smaller population will suddenly have to deal with over-crowding and resource pressures.

However digital artists, designers, engineers and architects are working together to come up with ideas and concepts for future cities that could support growing populations – and they are just as amazing as you could imagine.

Here is what they predict future cities will be like:

Floating city designed by AT Design Office

Floating cities

Underwater cities may not just be something we see in the movies. A British and Chinese-based design firm called AT Design Office has developed a concept for a floating city as a sustainable alternative to land based cities that are highly over populated. These water cities may be the next logical building step as global warming continues to cause sea levels to rise. These cities will float on the seas and can harness solar and tidal energy to power it up.

Images were commissioned to coincide with the launch of a TV series Impossible Engineering

Above and below

Since the actual surface area of many cities cannot expand, the only solution to accommodate a huge influx of people is to go up and down. Sky scrapers will become much higher than they are now and experts working on the Impossible Engineering TV series, including a panel at the University of Westminster headed by Dr Rhys Morgan, believe that in the future we will inhabit ultra-deep basements and buildings with their own micro-climates. In fact, multi-layered basement extensions are already happening in London.

Architect Vincent Callebaut's vision of Paris in 2050

Alternative building material

Bricks and concrete may become a thing of the past and traditional building as a whole could take a back seat. 3D printing has progressed enormously in the past decade and top scholars believe that it may evolve to the point where an entire house could be available for print. This means that house’s could be “built” almost anywhere, opening up previously unsuitable building land.

Buildings could also be made from organic matter. The Living New York used biotechnology and advance computing to create self-building organic structures with corn husks and mushroom material. People believe this light weight, bio degradable material could be a changing point in the way people build in the future.

London's proposed SkyCycle designed by Foster + Partners, Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax


Advanced technology will no doubt be an integral part of future cities. Cities look set to operate on interconnected networks and have their very own nerve centres. Sensors will be placed across the city that will provide a data on how the city is performing. These networks have the potential to just about anything, from monitoring your energy and water usage to self-driven transport systems. An excellent example of a smart city currently in operation is Songdo in South Korea. Sensors are planted all over the city that monitors everything from temperature to traffic. There is even a system in place that automatically sucks garbage out of people’s homes and into a central system that uses it to create compost. The possibilities of smart cities are endless.

Songdo in South Korea, via wikimedia

If you think you have the next future city idea become part of the BASF creator-space project. Creator Space is a way for you to make a tangible difference to global concerns through collaboration with leading figures from various industries. Discuss, add your ideas and meet like-minded individuals here -  BASF creator space

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