If there’s one thing for certain when it comes to building the cities of the future, it’s that resource consumption at the current rate won’t be a sustainable or viable option. So what’s the solution? For starters, retrofitting will get a whole lot more popular, as will the necessity to use more locally-sourced materials. Peter Head and David Singleton explain in this Guardianarticle.
Declining resources, climate change and growing urban populations will transform the cities of the future. But what will these urban centres actually look like? Building successful cities of the future or regenerating urban centres will require a harmonisation with natural surroundings and biodiversity. There has never been a more compelling time to consider how to bring these future cities to life.
In China, where many new cities are under construction, it will be important to develop with a much lower reliance on fossil fuels. Questions arise over whether high-density megacities are the right solution, given the significant emissions that result from moving people, goods, food and water across such large settlements. Instead, the development of a network of decentralised mixed-use settlements, or "clusters" connected by high speed public transport and broadband communications, may be a more sustainable
solution. Connected by areas of intensive agriculture and natural systems, this decentralised model allows for the recycling of nutrients and water, as well as greater use of local materials. Certain clusters may eventually evolve into centres which offer particular commercial and social facilities, such as high-tech healthcare and education. Information and communication technologies would minimise the need to travel, thus reducing carbon emissions.
This model could also free up capital to enhance social well-being. The infrastructure needed to support the modern day industrialised nation absorbs so much capital that it can limit the resources available to invest in such projects as human development, health and education.