Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity’s problems

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What is the “city of the future”? Is it a dream, a fantasy, or a completely practical idea that can solve the main problems of mankind in a few decades? It is safe to say that the cities of the future are a combination of the dream of an ideal habitat, beautiful and cozy, and practical solutions that will make such a city comfortable and thoughtful..

Ideas about an ideal city have always arisen, such dreams (which did not receive real embodiment) were collectively called “utopia” after the title of Thomas More’s famous book “Utopia” (1516), which described the impeccable society of the future. Many writers and philosophers then followed in Mora’s footsteps, for example, Tommaso Campanella, who wrote the book “City of the Sun” in 1620. It is worth noting that in such works the main emphasis was not on the rational planning of cities of the future, but on the creation of an ideal society, all members of which will have equal rights and opportunities..

The idea was continued by science fiction writers of the twentieth century, for example, Ivan Efremov, who wrote the book “The Andromeda Nebula”, which describes the Earth of the future, which became a single communist state and divided into separate zones of residence, agricultural areas and so on..

It seems that all science fiction writers of the past would be very disappointed when they saw modern cities, since practically no idea was implemented, and megalopolises did not grow according to a single plan, but chaotically, as historically.

Problems of modern cities

The city of the future, according to modern architects, must solve the main problems of today’s megalopolises, to which experts unanimously refer:

Contamination of territories.Already now, the huge landfills surrounding modern cities have become an acute problem, the existing waste disposal and recycling technologies cannot cope with such a large amount of garbage that is thrown out by citizens every day. The sewers are also overloaded and this problem is becoming more and more urgent. Ideally, in the city of the future, all waste will be recycled; great attention is paid to this issue when drawing up new projects..

Overpopulation.How much land in the central districts of the capitals of all major cities in the world is worth today is well known to everyone who has ever faced the “housing issue” And in the future this problem will, of course, only get worse, because the population of the Earth continues to grow – if today, according to various sources, about 6.6-7 billion people live on our planet, then by 2060 the population will grow to 10.6 billion person. Building the entire surface of the Earth with houses is of course not an option, because you need to leave areas for farming, and the remaining animals also need to live somewhere, so the city of the future should be created with the expectation of a growing number of citizens and offer new ways to accommodate residents..

Lack of drinking water. Unfortunately, on our planet, most of which is covered by water, there is not so much fresh water. According to the World Health Organization, every third person on the planet today faces a lack of drinking water. Already today, many countries, such as Israel and the states of the Middle East, are directly involved in this problem, which is unlikely to be solved by transporting icebergs from the Arctic. There are dozens of seawater desalination plants in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel today, but its quality does not allow it to be used for food without additional, rather expensive purification using reverse osmosis, such water is usually used only for household needs. Saudi Arabia, for example, has to bring drinking water from New Zealand. The cities of the future will have to solve this problem by introducing new, more advanced technologies..

Lack of energy resources.Oil, gas, coal – all these minerals so much needed by mankind will one day run out. Already today, world oil companies are busy looking for more and more fields, Russia, for example, is forced to develop the Arctic shelf, since hydrocarbon reserves located in more accessible places have long been explored and are being actively developed. In a few decades, the issue of energy security will become even more acute for humanity, therefore, providing electricity (preferably inexpensive) to cities of the future is another important task for engineers, and energy efficiency of buildings is becoming an indispensable condition for a successful project..

In addition, all in the same 2060, residents of megalopolises may face new, not yet so urgent problems, for example, the spread of new viruses dangerous for humanity and complete dependence on computer technologies, which will be associated with the automation of almost all processes taking place in city ​​of the future.

So, having figured out the main tasks facing the architects of cities of the future (and at the same time not forgetting that the metropolis should become more beautiful and comfortable), you can try to imagine exactly how the city will look in a few decades, say, by 2060 year.

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems

Of course, you can follow the path of the scriptwriters of Hollywood films and imagine slender towers of skyscrapers that rise thousands of meters into the sky, taxis flying between them, screens hanging in the air showing commercials (where can we go without them even in the future), delivery of groceries to the window of an apartment located on the 541st floor and domes that protect the city from harmful ultraviolet radiation and bad weather … Or, in contrast to such a technogenic picture, imagine a real rural idyll – rows of well-kept private houses, abundance of greenery, huge park areas and apple trees growing near city ​​administration.

However, reality does not so often coincide with science fiction (even scientific) and even more colorful utopias, therefore, creating projects for cities of the future, modern architects are guided by already established trends, functional needs and expert forecasts.

Buildings of the future

All experts unanimously note that buildings in the cities of the future will continue to grow upward – the lack of land and population growth is forcing architects to place as many square meters of residential and commercial space as possible in a small area. If today skyscrapers with a height of 400-500 meters are still a rarity, then in a few decades such towers threaten to become the main element of the city landscape. To solve the problem of energy resources, such skyscrapers will be equipped with wind generators on the roofs, as well as solar panels that will completely cover the facades. Buildings of the future will be non-volatile, but the need to live at such a height, for some reason, is not very inspiring. And even the fact that some architects propose to use materials in the decoration of facades that can change the color of the building depending on the time of day and the mood of residents does not make such a picture more attractive..

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems

In connection with such tendencies, the question of preserving the historical centers in such cities as St. Petersburg, Kazan, Prague, Paris will be especially acute. Of course, state-protected architectural and historical monuments can be preserved, but they are in danger of simply getting lost against the background of the surrounding skyscrapers and becoming an uninhabited museum under the open sky (if ecology allows).

The first “swallow” on the path of turning cities into a “forest of skyscrapers” may be the project for the construction of the X-Seed 4000 skyscraper, the height of which will reach 4000 meters – the building will have 800 floors. This is a real “city within a city” with its residential quarters, park areas, construction will be carried out according to the principles of a new science – arcology, which combines the principles of ecological construction, so that it will not do without “green” technologies. The cost of the Japanese project is $ 900 billion (and these are only preliminary estimates), the construction will take at least 8 years. However, while the project exists only on paper.

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems This is what the X-Seed 4000 tower will look like against the backdrop of Tokyo

There is also a skyscraper-city project in China: in 15 years, a Bionic Tower or Cypress will appear in Shanghai, which will be built according to the project of Javier Piosa and Maria Rosa Server. The tower will be built on the principles of bionics, that is, combining the latest developments in robotics and natural forms. A slender tower 1 kilometer high will look like a real cypress, it will even have roots for stability. The project has been developed for 7 years, now the search for the ideal location of the skyscraper is underway so that the “Vertical Bionic Tower City” harmoniously fits into the landscape of Shanghai, whose population in 20 years may reach 30 million people. If the project turns out to be successful, the PRC authorities are ready to begin the construction of other similar high-rises in a few years..

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems The Cypress Tower Project in Shanghai

Apartments of the future

Smart home technology, which is already becoming more widespread today, in the future will allow you to control all home systems only by voice or even gestures. By 2060, humanity may become lazy to such an extent that the “smart apartment” itself will turn on and off the lights, put the kettle on the stove (or another cooking device that will appear by that time), the refrigerator will be able to independently order the necessary products from the supermarket, and the plumber – to do medical tests, warning the owner about changes in the state of health.


By 2060, digital 3D technologies will surround people everywhere and everywhere. It will be possible to order tickets for a train or a movie by simply uttering the appropriate command to your electronic assistant, who will replace your mobile phone. It will be possible to connect to the Internet anywhere in the city, and ordinary advertising boards will be replaced by holograms consisting of water droplets and changing color. 3D images will be projected directly into the air, and there will be no need for monitors and TV panels. Computers will significantly decrease in size – down to a tiny chip – and will be built into watches, windshields of cars and even be mounted in glasses, accompanying a person everywhere.


Saving water will reach a new level, it is quite possible that in 2060 the townspeople will take ultrasonic baths. All waste will be reused, for example, recycled into building materials (burning waste is unprofitable today, and in the future it will become an unaffordable luxury).

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems

Of course, if humanity fails to change its consumer attitude towards their home planet, the ecological situation can become catastrophic very soon and apartments will have to be equipped with protection from ultraviolet radiation, dust and radioactive particles, and going outside will become life-threatening.


It is already clear that it will not be possible to deal with traffic jams with the usual expansion of highways – transport arteries will go underground (high-speed metro) or into the sky (in Tokyo, for example, today many skyscrapers are equipped with platforms for helicopters, perhaps very soon most of the townspeople will be forced to transfer to air transport).

The city of the future is simply obliged to offer completely new solutions to the transport issue, if modern trends do not change, then in 20-30 years the whole planet will be in one giant traffic jam, gasoline will cost more than gold, and the ecology will simply disappear as such. The problem with fuel may be solved by cars powered by solar panels or other “green” modes of transport, but traffic jams will have to be dealt with with new, more efficient methods..

By the way, engineers will most likely entrust driving cars to robots, in the hope that they will definitely not violate traffic rules and accidents on highways will be much less.

Of course, such a picture of the city of the future is very exaggerated and does not take into account various global natural disasters, the emergence of innovative technologies unknown today, and so on..

In my opinion, one of the most attractive projects of the city of the future today is the floating city created by the architectural bureau Vincent Callebaut, which received the romantic name “Lilypad”. In shape, this city really looks like a lotus flower and will become very popular if scientists’ predictions about global warming, melting glaciers and rising water in the world’s oceans become reality..

“Water lily” is designed to accommodate 50 thousand people, can swim in the middle of the ocean and moor next to land. Residential buildings will be located on three “petals” of the city, and the center will be occupied by a picturesque lagoon. The city will use the energy of the tides, sun and wind, and the biomass of the oceans, so that energy problems can be avoided. And from external influences “Water Lily” will be protected by “skin” made of titanium.

Such a floating city looks very nice, and the ability to travel, for example, from America to Europe, without leaving your own apartment, makes this project even more attractive.

Cities of the future: can a dream solve humanity's problems Lilypad city top view

It is worth noting that Russian cities, which are now significantly lagging behind their Western counterparts in development, in a couple of decades will become similar to modern New York and Singapore, and we are still as far away from real cities of the future as we were from flying to Mars..

And yet, what seems like science fiction or inventions of scientists today may soon become reality. The main thing is that, in pursuit of new technologies, architects do not forget about human needs for a comfortable, attractive home, and style and beauty would not have to sacrifice in favor of functionality and energy efficiency..

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