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Massive growth is threatening the sustainability of cities and the quality of city life. Mass urbanisation can lead to social instability, undermining the capacity of cities to be environmentally sustainable and economically successful. A new model of sustainability is needed, including greater incentives to save energy, reduce consumption and protect the environment while also increasing levels of citizen wellbeing. Cities of the future should be a socially diverse environment where economic and social activities overlap and where communities are focused around neighbourhoods. They must be developed or adapted to enable their citizens to be socioeconomically creative and productive. Recent developments provide hope that such challenges can be tackled. This review describes the exciting innovations already being introduced in cities as well as those which could become reality in the near future. Keywords: Future cities, Sustainability, Urbanisation, Environment, Innovations Introduction factor, which even the excellence of Khmer engineering Throughout history, cities have been at the heart of hu- was unable to counter. man development and technological advancements . Tenochtitian, the Aztec capital in what is now Mexico, Although an element of planning can be discerned even was built in a lake bordered by swamps. The flow of in the earliest cities they have often evolved in response water was controlled to provide land for building and ir- to the changing needs and aspirations of their inhabi- rigate fields, the so-called floating gardens. The city dis- tants. Some cities have survived for millennia, including tricts were connected by both causeways and canals. Rome, Athens, Cairo, Alexandra, Baghdad and Beijing, The Aztec engineers also had to separate the brackish and are still flourishing. Other, once mighty, cities have water of the lake from spring water from nearby hills for disappeared, their ruins being unearthed by present-day drinking. In 1519, at the time of the Spanish conquest, archaeologists. A fascinating example, built by the Tenochtitian, with an estimated population of 200,000 Khmer civilisation, is Ankor Wat  in present day to 300,000, and was one of the largest cities in world. Al- Cambodia, which boasted features very relevant to the though conquered it did not collapse like AnkorWat, design of future cities. Notable achievements by the an- but was developed by the Spanish into what is now cient Khmer engineers were the control and distribution Mexico City, with a population of 21 m. of water through a sophisticated canal system irrigating Although in designing cities of the future we have a agriculture within the city bounds supplying citizens much greater range of technologies than our ancestors, with ample food. The fundamental problems that the we must not make the hubristic mistake of assuming Khmer solved were the prevention of flooding by that these will ensure our success. The words of George Monsoon rains, and storing water for the subsequent Santayana are apposite, “Those who do not remember the periods of drought. Despite its success over 8 centuries, past are condemned to repeat it.” We need an enlight- AnkorWat collapsed in 1431 . Climate change resulting ened approach to design cities of the future, learning in extended droughts is considered to be a contributory from the experience of the past and applying the ad- vanced technologies of the present. * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK © 2016 Riffat et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 2 of 23 Tomorrow’s cities: chaotic or strategic? Lessons Table 1 Impacts of global urbanisation and mitigation strategies from the immediate past First and foremost, future cities must serve their citizens, Impacts Mitigation Strategies combining increased prosperity for all with desirable life High traffic density ✓ Efficient public transport ✓ Compact city design styles. These aims must be achieved without detriment to people who live in other regions; for example they must High amount of waste ✓ Recycling not export carbon emissions by importing goods manufac- Urban warming ✓ Increasing green space, ✓ Using reflective materials tured by fossil fuel and feedstock dependent processes or create pollution elsewhere. This is not to say that a city Increasing Air pollution ✓ CO capture, ✓ Filtering exhaust gases, cannot import feedstock or energy intensive goods from ✓ Increasing efficiency of industrial outside its borders; rather the energy and material con- processes/vehicles tents of imports must be balanced by those of exports. To Increasing energy ✓ Using renewable sources, this end, future cities must adopt wide scale utilisation of consumption/sinking ✓ Achieving low energy buildings, renewable energy, waste management/minimisation, water resources ✓ Increasing efficiency of devices/ processes harvesting/recycling, landscape/biodiversity to enhance the Lack of biodiversity/natural ✓ Increasing green space, natural environment, use of green transport systems, habitat ✓ Developing animal/plant protection applications of innovative material/construction methods areas (low/zero carbon buildings) and local food production. Sinking water resources ✓ Water purification While such aspirations would have been familiar to city ✓ Desalination designers in antiquity, their modern counterparts can ✓ Rainwater harvesting draw upon newer technologies such as integrated smart Rising food demand/ ✓ Vertical farming management control systems based on wireless sensor poverty ✓ Artificial food production ✓ Greening the deserts networks, which by detailed monitoring can turn wasteful Land shortage for housing ✓ Constructing multifunctional cities into sustainable cities. Technologies will need to buildings, be tailored to particular geographic, climatic and cultural ✓ Creative architectural designs conditions, but all will have a similar philosophy of turn- Weak Social cohesion ✓ Improving sociocultural environment ing buildings from passive entities to active, adaptive and ✓ Increasing the number of organisations- adaptable spaces that takes advantage of the surrounding events that bring people together environment for heat, cooling, light and electricity. A key to achieving low carbon cities is understanding how best to select and integrate various technologies from the many food buyers; and food demand will have to be met by available, to optimise performance for different building rural and peri-urban areas or by food imports. types, climates, cultures and socio-economic conditions. On the other hand, in many emerging cities, people A strategic approach will be required to achieve a sustain- are obligated to live in more marginal regions. They have able city to ensure that it functions efficiently as a whole. less adaptive capacity, low incomes and no assets. Add- But the planning parameters should not be so centralised itionally less legal and financial protection, no insurance, and rigid that they do not allow different community de- no land tittle… Indeed urban areas are more attractive signs and architecture styles to find expression. than rural areas for many people in terms of job oppor- Several impacts of overpopulation in urban areas are tunities, improved living conditions, multicultural envir- already appreciable as summarized in Table 1 with pos- onment and dynamic life. In fact developed countries sible mitigation strategies. First of all concerns of food are already highly urbanized due to the opportunities and water security is arising in many cities. As these cit- they have, and the United Nations estimates that the ies expand, agricultural land is converted into residential urban populations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and industrial areas. For instance in Conception, a Chilean will double over the next 30 years, from 1.9 billion in City with a population of 500.000, 1734 hectares of 2000 to 3.9 billion in 2030. At that point, over 60 % of wetlands and 1417 hectaresofagriculturallandand the world's population will live in cities . forests were transformed into residential areas between Cities with the growing urban mass will turn to a more 1975–2000 . In Accra, Ghana, it is estimated that resource, land, food and energy demanding consumers 2600 hectares of agricultural land is converted every and they should be productive to be genuinely sustain- year where Chinese and Indonesian cities have the able. Unproductive urban areas will probably face with similar pattern . In the future agriculture will be poverty, inequality of individuals, pollution, illnesses and challenged to meet the demand of a population that is external economical dependency. projected to grow and to urbanize. This indicates that Productivity is clearly desirable in emerging cities as more food will be demanded by a population of net it increases competitiveness thereby prosperity and Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 3 of 23 sustainability of any city. More productive cities are significant increase of urban energy consumption and able to increase output with the same amounts of re- urban emissions. Higher population may also cause an in- sources, generating additional real income that can crease in urban density (number of people per unit area). raise living standards through more affordable goods Key strategies are needed for minimizing energy consump- and services . More specifically, the generated extra tion, efficient use of land, sustainable food production and income and municipal revenue will enable any city to pro- transport. In a recent study Singh and Kennedy developed vide more, better services, including housing, education a tool for predicting future energy consumption and CO and health services, social programmes and expanded infra- emissions based on electricity, heating and transportation structure networks to support both productive and leisure in urban areas . The tool was applied to 3646 urban activities. Indeed, the productivity of the city is directly in- areas and three projections were used in the analysis for fluences the citizen well-being and socio-economic status. the years 2020 and 2050. In medium and high projection it Urban productivity is the measure of how efficient a is assumed that the number of people per unit area (km ), city transforms inputs into outputs. Gross domestic (urban density), will increase 1 % and 2 %, whereas in low product (GDP) per capita is commonly used as a proxy projection no urban density increase was assumed. The for urban productivity, with a city’s GDP measuring local predicted emissions and energy consumption in the years production of goods and services and the population 2020 and 2050 with the baseline of 2000 are given in Fig. 2a serving as a proxy for inputs related to human capital. and b. The results revealed that, for the high projection, GDP is an important measure of sustainability of devel- CO emissions based on electricity usage will be doubled in oping cities. The report by UN demonstrates that GDP 2020 and increase more than four times in 2050. According of emerging cities is significantly influenced by the na- to the developed tool, heating sector based CO emissions tional development level. The importance of national and energy usage will not affected from the urban density comparative advantage is illustrated by the fact that, and will slightly increase in all cases. On the other hand the while 22 of the top 30 largest urban areas (by population) increase in urban density may dramatically increase the were located in emerging or developing economies in transportation sourced emissions and energy consumption. 2008, only seven emerging economy cities ranked among While some cities in the past have been planned, at the top 30 in terms of urban GDP. The group included least in part, they have often grown chaotically with Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Shanghai, minimal strategic design and service provision, especially Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro, but no Middle Eastern or when under pressure from population growth often driven African cities (See: Fig. 1). The average GDP per capita by migrations from the countryside during periods of agri- of these emerging/developing country cities tends to be cultural mechanisation and industrialisation. The large in- th substantially smaller than that of developed cities . dustrial cities of 19 century Britain and the favelas of th The recent report by the United-Nations (2014) estimate 20 century Rio de Janeiro are obvious examples. Lack of 3.9 billion urban population in 2014 itself. The urban sanitation, overcrowding, disease, child labour and little population will be increase about 2.5 billion, which means provision for education resulted in the horrendous living by 2050 UN estimates about 6.4 billion population residing conditions described in the novels of Charles Dickens and in urban areas. Increasing urban population will lead to a the factual reports of investigative journalist Henry Fig. 1 Population, GDP per capita and total GDP for selected metropolitan areas (2008)  Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 4 of 23 Fig. 2 Predicted sectoral urban (a) emissions, (b) energy consumption by 2020 and 2050 based on percent urban density decline  th Mayhew . In Britain a century and a half of social re- firsthalfofthe 20 century. Tower blocks and “streets in form, legislation and regulation has been required to the sky” constructed using reinforced concrete and indus- heal the wounds of past piece-meal urban growth. Even trial engineering-type processes proved to be a disaster, th now Britain suffers from a considerable 19 and early both technically, because of lax quality standards, and so- th 20 century house stock, which whilst impractical to re- cially, because of social isolation and creation of conditions place, is also technically challenging to refurbish to the conducive to petty crime. In Britain, 60 years later, these modern standards of energy efficiency necessary to reduce structures are regularly demolished to be replaced by more national carbon emissions. traditional low rise dwellings built to modern standards. To avoid the chaos of the past future cities must be Even in 1945 John Betjeman, the Poet Laureate, who was a planned. But city wide planning, especially on grand scale, staunch defender of historic buildings, warned about over- has a legacy of suspicion. Like other European nations after powering development in his poem “The Planster’sVision” the Second World, Britain, embarked upon a combination  where the second verse begins with the ironic lines, of slum clearance in bomb-damaged cities and initiating “I have a vision of the future, chum, new cities on greenfield sites, in part inspired by the “con- crete” visions of the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier The workers’ flats in fields of soya beans (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris), who was active in the Tower up like silver pencils, score on score…” Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 5 of 23 The key word is “chum” that implies an insensitivity need to be made to encourage more recycling to happen, for humans as individuals. On the other hand, influenced as 70 % is still thrown into the trash [13–15]. Cities can by the British planning failures of the 1950s and 60s, heir become also more sustainable and attractive by adding to the British Throne Prince Charles, is highly critical of open space. Hiking trails, activity centres, and parks can “modern architecture” and strongly advocates a return to draw people into the city and reduce waste. local vernacular architecture for new communities, a phil- Cities are vital to the future global economy. For in- osophy he has applied to the development of Poundbury stance 41 % of the UK's population lives in the country's in southern England [10, 11]. Charles’ ideas have been dis- ten largest urban areas . However, cities are struggling missed as an anti-progressive pastiche of the traditional. with climate change, changes in population and demo- But, in some respects, Charles is returning to the earlier graphics, congestion and healthcare, and pressure on key vision of British urban planner, Ebenezer Howard the resources [17, 18]. In future there will be a large market creator of the garden city movement . Letchworth for innovative technologies/approaches to create efficient, was the first garden city followed by Welwyn Garden attractive and resilient cities [18, 19]. th City, both built in the early 20 century to the north of Recent research has been focused on the development London, recognised the importance of an integrated of a data platform for power, heat and cooling usage in transportation system, but, not surprisingly for the time cities and individual usage patterns in domestic, com- they were built, did not foresee the rapid growth of mercial and industrial buildings [20, 21]. There is a lack automobile ownership. The garden city philosophy was of information in the rapidly changing energy market. adopted in other countries. Solutions are required to better handling of cost, supply In summary, inspired city planning working to a well- and demand of energy in cities and towns. With macro- defined strategy with a regard for human values can level energy data, cities can invest in new innovations, avoid the chaos created by the uncontrolled growth of provide more focused geographic support to areas where cities during rapid industrialisation. Engineering has energy supply is lacking, and gain better decision-making much to offer future city design but it must be tempered evidence on issues such as targeted building retrofitting by a respect for citizen’s aspirations. The designs for and fuel poverty . future cities must be flexible, responding to evolving Responding to the rapid urban development and chal- technologies and cultural changes. With rapid global lenges, future cities have become a pressing issue due to urbanisation the challenges are immense; but to learn the impacts of global warming problems. This inevitably what works new cities must be built to new designs. requires identifying prioritizing and structuring new de- We shall need to accept that success will be accompanied sign and managerial tools to improve their environmen- by failure, from which we shall, and must, learn. tal, urban and fiscal sustainability. Emerging cities should also develop local and national Review of the visions for future cities policies to retain highly qualified individuals. Currently Innovative visions are needed in emerging cities to reduce in developing world, the proportion of cities making ef- the impact on the environment while creating places that fort to retain talented and visionary individuals is alarm- increase social cohesion, or accelerating human inter- ingly low. Asia could count as an exception where half action in education, health and employment to improve of the cities are putting effort to retain talent. In China, the quality of life for an ever greater percentage of our Chongqing has developed an ambitious training programme world population. The technological advancements should to support the transition of rural migrants from manual- be fully utilized to realize these visions and goals. For based to skill-based types of work; by 2009, nearly one-third instance, temperature, pollution, water systems, waste of migrants had benefited from the scheme . Dubai is management systems, radiation, traffic, air pollution and also promoting education especially in the fields of engineer- other components can be monitored through wireless ing and information technologies . sensor networks for achieving the greatest efficiency . Some cities in developing countries have embraced the These systems can help detect leaks and problem areas model of world-class innovation clusters, such as California’s quickly, potentially saving electricity and other precious Silicon Valley or Boston’s Route, to become ‘high-tech hubs’ resources. In order to save additional resources, cities can . Those that have met with success in this endeavour, consider grassroots initiatives, like farmer’s markets and such as India’s Bangalore, owe it to the same basic factors: community-supported agriculture. Urban farming is a the presence of top-quality academic and research institu- simple change, since dirt beds can be put nearly anywhere tions as well as substantial public and corporate investment. and grow food locally . Organizing community car- However, low infrastructure development rate and unbal- pools and encouraging people to recycle waste and use re- anced distribution of benefits of growth across all the popu- usable bags for shopping can make huge impacts as well. lation are signalling threat for these regions. Quality of life is A staggering 75 % of solid waste is recyclable, but steps rapidly emerging as a major asset in any efforts to attract Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 6 of 23 and retain creative minds and businesses. It is not surprising expected to break away from subsidies and acquire self- that Toronto, San Francisco or Stockholm are regularly financing independence, establishing financially and so- ranked among the top performing cities in the world, since cially autonomous models . they are found as performing particularly well in a wide The European “Smart Cities & Communities Initiative” range of both economic and quality of life indicators includ- of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) pro- ing crime, green areas, air quality and life satisfaction. Except motes 40 % reduction of greenhouse gases in the urban more developed nations, Singapore, with a similar balance environment by 2020, which could be achieve with sus- of quality of life attributes, also ranks among the top world tainable and efficient production, conversion and use of cities and the highest among developing countries . energy. Yet the domestic sector will increasingly become Inspiring from the above given successful examples, the leading energy sector as more people around the each city should develop its own strategic future vision world aspire to higher living standards, which will drive for realizing the basic concepts, with the aim of maxi- the demand for air conditioning and electric power. Zero mizing an integrated total of environmental, social and energy buildings (ZEB)/Zero carbon buildings (ZCB), economic values. When setting out the future vision, therefore, expected to have a vital role to achieve sus- both a backcasting approach of looking back from a de- tainable and smart cities. Kylili and Fokaides define ZEBs sirable future to the present and a forecasting approach as buildings that have zero carbon emissions on an of looking forward from the present to the future are es- annual basis . The required ZEB aspects as part of sential to enhance feasibility. Moreover, it is important future’s smart cities are demonstrated by the Kylili, and to set the vision in a way that fully embodies each city's Fokaides as given in Fig. 3. diverse and unique features that arise from its natural Various designs for future cities have been mooted, and social characteristics. Each city is required to tackle some more adventurous than others. Some are actually the challenges of the environment and aging society, and being built. All aspire to being carbon neutral and sus- is further encouraged to take on additional challenges in tainable, exploiting the latest technologies for construc- areas that can enhance their originality and comparative tion, renewable energy, recycling and transportation. advantages in cooperation with other cities in the same Recently the British Government has announced plans nation and abroad. It will be important to gather world- for new garden cities in the UK which emphasised the wide wisdom by absorbing information on other cites' development of new communities adapted to local needs successes from all over the world, as this will help inte- . The aspirational “wish list” harks back to Howard grate a variety of efforts in different fields and realize and, although arguably obvious, it does express what is synergistic effects. By accumulating successes, cities are expected of a future British garden city: Fig. 3 ZEB aspects as integral part of smart cities. Adapted from  Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 7 of 23 Strong vision, leadership and community engagement The principles incorporated into Hong Kong’sZCB Land value capture for the benefit of the community and Jockey Club Innovation Tower can also be seen in Community ownership of land and long-term Swedish developments. Malmö, Sweden’s largest city has stewardship of assets undergone economic changes replacing its tradition Mixed-tenure homes and housing types that are heavy industry with small and medium size companies. affordable for ordinary people Kjellgren Kaminsky in combination with builders Höll- A strong local jobs market in the Garden City itself, viksnäs Förvaltnings AB, won an open competition for with a variety of employment opportunities within passive houses in April 2009 which have now been built. easy commuting distance of homes The buildings have a number of measures for ecological Beautifully and imaginatively designed homes with sustainability using a combination of wind, geothermal gardens, combining the very best of town and and solar energy. The original biodiversity of the local area country living to create healthy homes in vibrant has been maintained and especial attention has been ap- communities plied to rainwater collection and sewage treatment. Generous green space linked to the wider natural Hammarby Sjöstad (Hammarby Lake City) is a new environment, including a surrounding belt of district in Stockholm built on a previously industrial and countryside to prevent sprawl, well connected, harbor area. Hammarby is meant to provide 10,000 biodiverse public parks, and a mix of public and apartments for 25 000 inhabitants and occupies 200 private networks of well-managed, high quality hectares of land, close to the city centre. The required gardens, tree-lined streets and open spaces environmental impact of the project was limited to no Opportunities for residents to grow their own food, more than half that of the best projects built at the end including generous allotments of the 1990s; in the long term, the energy demand Strong local cultural, recreational and shopping should not exceed 60 kWh/m per year of which not facilities in walkable neighbourhoods more than 20 kWh/m per year should be electric energy Integrated and accessible low-carbon transport . As with the Malmo development, energy, waste and systems – with a series of settlements linked by water systems have been designed for sustainability. A rapid transport providing a full range of employment similar development, Beddington Zero Energy Develop- opportunities ment (BedZED) in London, was completed in 2002 com- prises 82 affordable dwellings and commercial site (offices, Garden cities built along these lines will largely exploit workspaces) spread on approximately 2500 m . The project existing technologies, an approach already adopted else- is a conspicuous example of urban development as it ad- where. The Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong, dresses many challenges such as combining workspace with is located at the heart of Kowloon Bay, the upcoming vi- housing, matching with dense urban population, achieving brant premier business district. Covering a total area of zero carbon standards and increasing comfort level . 14,700 m comprising a 3-storey Zero Carbon Building Japan is also actively developing sustainable “eco” cities, of and a landscape area  it both showcases state-of-the which a particularly interesting example is the Kitakyushu art eco-building design and technologies to the construc- Eco-Town project . Like the Swedish examples, its de- tion industry locally and internationally and raises com- velopment is a response to the decline in highly polluting munity awareness of low carbon living in Hong Kong. To heavy industry, which contaminated the local, land, sea and achieve zero carbon emissions, ZCB adopts an integrated air in the 1960s. The target is to reverse this environmental design where the ZCB building and its surrounding wood- damage by creating a sustainable community through a land must be seen as a single entity. Nevertheless, in partnership of the government, commercial organisations addition to the sustainability of future’sconstructionwe and citizens. A key aspect is local recycling of discarded should also consider the “visuality” and “functionality” of items from bottles to bicycles. Furthermore, all Eco-Town buildings. An intriguing example, Hong Kong Polytechnic companies must allow their facilities to be inspected by University’s 15-storey Jockey Club Innovation Tower com- citizens in order to eliminate public distrust and anxiety peted last year . It prospers the diversity, expresses the concerning potential pollution. dynamism and creativity of university life with creating a The developments described above are based essentially fascinating turban area. While the tower provides multi- on established technologies following principles that can functional usage and is visually attractive, its unique be applied readily elsewhere to achieve urban sustainabil- geometry covers less land space than its contenders. The ity in the near future. They are targeted at relatively mod- building is a showcase of future high rise construction. Fu- est sized communities typically adjacent or within existing ture cities could evolve by progressively adding more conurbations. buildings following the same principles, each designed for In parallel with these projects, far more ambitious, its intended function, residential, offices etc. schemes have been initiated that are creating completely Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 8 of 23 new sustainable cities on virgin ground, especially in centres and university campuses. The prestigious$2bn states with strong central, governments and with consid- Azerbaijan Tower, intended to be the world’s tallest, pre- erable national wealth earned from the sale of fossil sumably trying to outdo Burj Mubarak al-Kabir. A Formula fuels. A good example, of a future community is Masdar 1 circuit will also be included. All buildings will be capable City in Abu Dhabi (UAE), a project to create the world’s of withstanding magnitude 9.0 earthquakes. first low carbon/zero waste sustainable city [31, 32]. While the new cities described above are ambitious Completely powered by renewable energy, and covering they are based on existing or emerging technology and, an area of more than seven square kilometres, Masdar in principle at least, can be completed within the next City will have the capacity to house 40,000 residents, decade, designs for far more futuristic cities have also and host a range of businesses and institutions employ- been mooted, siting them underground [41–43], underwater ing 50,000+ people. But, it is intended to be more than , floating on the sea [45, 46] or even in the sky [47, 48]. just a demonstration of the practicality of using renewable Arguably the development of the underground city has energy technologies. Masdar City will host a vibrant, in- already started. In London, where real estate is very ex- novative, community of academics, researchers, start-up pensive, wealthy property owners are digging downwards companies and financiers – all focused on developing re- to expand their living space thus avoiding planning regu- newable energy and sustainability technologies. lations. The London Crossrail scheme shows that large Another interesting project, Silk City in Kuwait, will underground spaces can be created, but as Harris notes, be completed in 2023 and will include 30 communities quoting London’s Road Task Force, why not put major grouped into four main districts; Finance city, Leisure roads into new tunnels “…leaving the surface, with its city, Ecological City and the Educational - Cultural city. sunlight and trees, for public spaces” ? Maybe in lo- Silk City will become a new urban centre accommodat- calities such as London, where the underlying clay is ing 750,000 residents in over 170 thousand residential conducive to excavation, a present day city can evolve units. This $132 billion project will create a modern and into a future city by digging downwards rather growing sustainable oasis, providing hundreds of thousands of upwards? jobs and investment opportunities within the world’s tal- An alternative option for London is Sure Architecture’s lest tower “Burj Mubarak al-Kabir” located in Finance “Endless (Vertical) City” envisages a 55 storey tower de- City . signed for London site which will be a self-contained King Abdullah Economic City is another representa- community complete with areas dedicated to parks . tive of the future city concept aiming to have a positive Two ramps wind around the exterior essentially providing impact on the socio-economic development of Kingdom “vertical” streets since London does not have the space to of Saudi Arabia . The first stage of the city was fin- accommodate further horizontal streets. ished in 2010 and it will be fully completed in 2020. It With Japan’s lack of building land and susceptibility to will consist of several zones enabling industrial, educa- earthquakes it is perhaps not surprising that a Japanese tional, business and residential activities over an area of company, Shimizu Corporation, has proposed building 173 km . Energy/carbon, water, waste, ecology/biodiversity self-sufficient cities under the sea called “Ocean Spirals” and pollution prevention have been adopted as key pa- [50–52]. A city with typically 5,000 inhabitants will be rameters in the design of the city [34, 35]. It is also aimed contained within a 500 m diameter water-tight sphere, to create up to one million jobs for the youthful popula- at or near the ocean surface, and connected by a huge tion of the country, with where 40 % are under 15 . spiral to the ocean floor as much as 4000 m below. In response to its considerable environmental problems, Aquaculture would be practised in the surrounding sea a result of its recent industrial growth and need to meet to produce food sustainably and fresh water would be the aspirations of its increasingly wealthy population, obtained by desalination. Shimizu claims the first city, China has initiated the construction of many cities based costing £16bn, could be ready by 2030, having taken just on sustainable designs. In contrast to Europe and Japan, 5 years to build…and the price of further cities would be China is able to build on green field sites, an example is reduced as numbers increased. Tianjin Eco City in China . Although its development In contrast to Shimizu, Architect Vincent Callebaut has not been without problems  it does appear to be has designed the “Lilypad” city, capable of accommodat- growing at a viable pace . The stated intention is to ing 50,000 people floating on the ocean surface [53, 54]. move one hundred million people into new cities in the The city integrates a range of renewable energies (solar, next decade, especially in the western part of the country. thermal, photovoltaic and wind). Intriguingly, since these Azerbaijan is developing Khazar Islands, a sustain- floating cities float near a coast or travel around the able $100bn city in central Asia on the Caspian Sea, world following the ocean currents, they would avoid which, when complete in 2020 to 2025 will have 1 m inhab- the problems of sea level rise resulting from climate itants. Amenities provided in the city will include; cultural change [53, 54]. Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 9 of 23 The Venus Project, proposed by US inventor, Jacque cost of construction is low. It also looks attractive and Fresco, is another circular city comprising a central dome features good thermal performance and a high energy- containing the cybernetic systems that maintain core au- saving capacity. Maybe inspired, elegant, but eminently tomated city functions [55, 56]. Fresco goes way beyond practical designs to rebuild shattered communities rap- developing a sustainable city. He wishes to create an uto- idly and sustainably will be more important and helpful pian, technological civilisation without money that avoids to humanity than some of the grandiose schemes pres- the ills of all previous forms of economic and political ently on drawing boards? systems…capitalism, government, fascism, communism, socialism and democracy. Fresco considers that by cre- Building future cities ating the ideal environment for humans it will naturally Of course, new cities, based on existing modern technol- eliminating violence, greed, and the inequalities that ogy, are already being designed and built. China is re- presently afflict us. His philosophy seems to be in a trad- sponsible for about half of global construction work and ition that can be traced back to Plato and Thomas More. will build 400 new cities and towns within the next The ideas espoused are beguiling, but are they achievable? 20 years . China is also moving rapidly towards Could they survive in a world where the pursuit of power implementing a low carbon economy and have recently and wealth is the prime objective of some individuals, selected 5 provinces and 8 cities for low carbon demon- whether ostensibly justified by nationalism, religious be- stration [58, 59]. However, city design and technology lief, or political creed? Indeed, to fully buy into the Venus must continue to develop, not least because more than Project requires a strong belief in its philosophy. 80 % of the world’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) is Even more fanciful than London’s “endless City” and created in cities [60, 61] and by 2050 66 % of the world’s inspired by the form of the lotus flower , is Tsvetan population will be urban . Accordingly, advanced Toshkov’s, “'City in the sky' which he claims is a concept construction methods and materials will be needed for embodying an imaginary tranquil oasis above the mega- sustainability in future’s cities. Robotic/digital design developed and polluted city, where one can escape from based technologies coupled with 3D printing of prefabri- the everyday noise and worries.” Although a delightful cated modules will reduce construction times, minimise exercise in creating a utopia away from the strains of mod- energy consumption and eliminate wasted material, all ern city life, the engineering stresses within the proposed contributing to lower costs [63, 64]. This technology will structure raise questions about its practicality. be an important step for redesign/reconstruction of cit- Despite the ambitious, indeed grandiose, designs of ies towards sustainability. Basically with the 3D printing, future cities requiring considerable planning, rapid urban robotic arms with three axis freedom of movement can renewal may become vital in response to natural disasters construct the building, based on the architectural design, notably earthquakes and hurricanes. While nobody would which is coded into the controller of the 3D printer. 3D wish such misfortunate on any city with the human tra- printed buildings provide aesthetics while minimizing gedies engendered, the opportunity presented to rebuild a the constructional defects which is generally an issue in devastated city to both improve its sustainability and to conventional buildings [65, 66]. reduce the risk of future disaster cannot be overlooked, A return to timber as a major building material is es- not least as an honour to those who have suffered. Two pecially attractive since each cubic meter of wood can examples are the Wenchuan and Qingchuan districts of store half tonne of carbon . Can we make buildings Sichuan Province, severely damaged by the 2008 earth- that work like trees and cities like forests? New cities quake, which are now in the reconstruction process. will exploit new materials that will deliver greater func- These areas suffered because buildings were not earth- tionality. For example nano-materials already offer oppor- quake resistant. Reconstruction has been difficult and a tunities for advances in sensors  and smart polymers large number of temporary shelters that are neither dur- . However, it is just as important that future cities are able nor thermally comfortable have been built in an at- constructed from materials that are completely recyclable tempt to meet the urgent needs of those affected. A and sustainable . Where virgin feedstock is required it research team led by Prof. Zhu Jingxiang of the School must be taken from renewable sources, which in many in- of Architecture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong stances will be biomass-based . For health and safety (CUHK) has developed an integrated light-structure sys- reasons manufacturing processes are currently located at tem for the reconstruction of New Bud Primary School distances from major conurbations. In the future pro- at Xiasi village in Sichuan’s Jiange County . With the cesses are required that are low hazard and can be inte- support of the Hong Kong Dragon Culture Charity Fund grated into cities, close to workers homes. The newly and the CUHK New Asia Sichuan Redevelopment Fund, emergent disciplines of Green Chemistry and Green En- the new school was completed and in operation in just gineering are addressing the development of future manu- two weeks. The building is safe and durable, and the facturing industry . Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 10 of 23 With buildings being responsible for almost half of all related properties of building materials. Nanomaterials can energy consumption and carbon emissions in Europe, be either added to the building materials or used as coat- new build properties are becoming much more energy ings. For instance applying nano scale coatings of titanium efficient and their environmental footprint is being re- dioxide breaks down the dirt as and provides a self- duced [73, 74]. cleaning effect when it is applied to windows, frame, glazing The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EPBD or roof tiles [81, 82]. (EU, 2010) requires that all new buildings shall be “nearly zero energy buildings” (nZEB) by the end of 2020 . Feeding future cities EPBD is not limited to new buildings, but also covers retro- According to WHO 50 percent of the 7 bn global popula- fit of existing buildings because these constitute the major- tion is currently living in cities requiring a land area for ity. Accordingly, building materials are in the spotlight as farming equivalent to half of South America to produce they have a large influence on building energy consump- their food . In the next 40 years there will be 3 billion tion, carbon emissions, urban warming and comfort level. more people [84, 85] to feed implying 50 % more food pro- Solid wood has been used as a building material for thou- duction . Since 80 % of the world’spopulationispre- sands of years, appreciated for being a lightweight, easy re- dicted to be living in cities by 2050, seemingly generating a usable and naturally regrown resource (See: Fig. 4). Today, conflict between using land for agriculture and for cities if “wooden construction” is innovative and on the rise: timber the extra food production is obtained via traditional agricul- is again regarded as an ideal green building material [76– ture. But the problem of feeding the inhabitants in future 78]. Recently a 30 storey tower, has been designed by Mi- cities may be less severe than we imagine. Historically, some chael Green for Vancouver, Canada. Once built, it will be cities at least integrated agriculture into their structure… the tallest wooden construction, overtaking its competitors Ankor Wat and Tenochtitian were mentioned above. Dur- Forte Building, Melbourne and Stadthaus, London . ing WW1 and WW2 the gardens and spare ground within Since timber is one of the few materials that has the British and German cities were turned over to the growing capacity to store carbon in large quantities over a long vegetables. Even Einstein cultivated an allotment in WW1, period of time, some of the historically negative environ- although he was reprimanded for it being untidy. Even the mental impact of urban development and construction USA increased its food production in WW2 by promoting could be avoided. As seen in Fig. 5, while 1 kg wood can victory gardens. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in store 9 kg CO , the rest of building construction mate- 1990, Cuba lost its supplies of fertilizers and agrichemicals rials positively contribute to the CO emissions, particu- precipitating a crisis in food production. To survive, larly the aluminium has a significant footprint on the Cubans turned to intensive urban agriculture to augment environment by releasing 27 kg CO per kg [79, 80]. their food supplies, an activity which continues to this day. Nanotechnology is also expected to have a wide range of Ironically, when people are restricted to a diet of smaller usage in future’s buildings. In the last decade this technol- amounts of freshly grown local food less in quantity than ogy has been used in the building industry to improve the previously, their general level of health improves, an effect structural, mechanical, hygienic, aesthetic and energy- clearly evident in both 1940s Britain and 1990s Cuba. In a Harnesses solar energy Collects-stores rain water Supplies oxygen–creates a healthy microclimate Produces no waste Provides carbon sequestration – absorbs CO Provides energy - food Can buildings be made to mimic trees and cities to mimic forests? Fig. 4 Benefits of using wood as building construction material. Legend - Wood is the only material with a negative CO balance; each cubic metre of wood sequestrates on average 0.8 to 0.9 tonnes CO [79, 80]. Building with wood could play a vital role in reducing air pollution and global warming. Being a natural material it will not produce any waste and can be recycled. Wood can also be an energy source for future cities Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 11 of 23 Fig. 5 Carbon storage capacity of building construction materials [79, 80] recent paper Thebo et al. suggest, based on satellite data, skyscrapers or high rise towers that grow the maximum that urban agriculture already contributes significantly to amount of on a minimum land area [93–95]. Although the global food supply since an area within 20 km of cities one dedicated vertical farm could feed up to 50,000 people equivalent to the 28 EU states combined is already being , it is still likely that it will be beneficial for all build- used for agricultural activities . The detailed analysis is ings in future to have space reserved for food production. summarised in Fig. 6; With the recent developments in photovoltaic (PV) tech- Martellozzo et al. suggest the potential for vegetable grow- nology it will be also possible to design vertical farms self- ing within urban areas would require roughly one third of sufficient and completely sustainable. The primary energy the total global urban area to meet the global vegetable con- consumption of vertical farms is for lighting (creating sumption of urban dwellers. But the urban area available mimic sunlight) and water pumping for irrigation. Al- and suitable for urban agriculture varies considerably de- Chalabi conducted a study evaluating the sustainability of pending upon the nature of the agriculture performed. They skyscrapers for vertical farming with different building di- reluctantly conclude that the space required is regrettably mensions as given in Table 2. According to the study re- the highest where need is greatest, i.e., in more food insecure sults, for the vertical farms with a floor area less than countries. They note that smaller urban areas offer the most 500 m , the available space on roof/façade is enough to potential as regards physical space . install required the required number of PV panels. But In the developed world urban food growing is becom- once the floor area exceeds 500 m the space on roof/fa- ing popular perhaps for three reasons: firstly by the mid- çade is insufficient . dle classes the appreciation that urban food cultivation In March 2014, the world largest vertical farm was opened can re-establish the link between food production and in Michigan (USA) with 17 million plants in plant racks consumption, especially for children, encouraging them using LED light to mimic sunlight [98, 99]. The American to adopt a more healthy diet; to supply free, fresh food National League of Cities is promoting urban agriculture for those in poverty and perhaps already relying upon  as a part of its remit to make cities more sustainable. food banks; and ironically for high end restaurants. One The most ambitious schemes for vertical farms will take a example of such community organisations world-wide is long time to realise, if ever. But some more modest exam- York Edible  in the city of York, UK. ples already exist, for example in Singapore [101, 102], Sky To reduce their environmental impact future urban Greens has constructed a four storey building using trad- dwellers will increasingly grow food within, or at least in the itional growing systems comprising soil based potted plants immediate hinterlands, of their cities to avoid the CO emis- on a series of conveyor belts which migrate the plants near sions associated with food transportation especially over the windows maybe once or twice an hour so that every transcontinental distances . It is estimated that each 1 plant gets same amount of sunlight during the day. The Calorie of consumed food uses currently 10 Calories of oil technology increases food production by a factor of ten [90–92]. But where ground is at a premium, food produc- compared to that of traditional farming on an equal land tion might be integrated into future cities by ‘Vertical Farm- area . Other vertical farms have been built in Korea, ing,’ i.e. multi-tier city farms in the form of glass protected Japan, the USA and Sweden [98–100, 102]. Singapore, one Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 12 of 23 Fig. 6 Schematic illustration of allocated urban area for irrigated and rainfed croplands . Percent of urban area classified as (a) irrigated cropland, (b) rainfed cropland by country. Legend Proportion of irrigated cropland tend to be higher in regions having larger urban extend area used for irrigated cropland. However proportion of rainfed cropland is more dependent on regional climate patterns of the most densely populated countries, is considering a fu- part by floating fish farms that have been in use locally since turistic “floating vertical farm” designed by Forward Think- the 1930s . ing Lab of Barcelona . The system basically consists of The flip side of producing and consuming food is that it looping towers that could float in local harbours, providing creates human waste that must be treated to avoid pollution. new space for year-round crops. The concept is inspired in Although human faeces and urine have been used Table 2 Optimisation model for the vertical farm. Adapted from  Dimensions of Energy demand (one month timeline) Energy supply Feasible building Length/width Area/floor(m ) Water pumping Light required Total required PV required (number PV available on roof/façade PV available-PV (m) required (kWh) (kWh) (kWh) of panels) (number of panels) required 10 100 148 0 148 4 593 Yes 20 400 591 0 591 15 1289 Yes 22.5 506 748 57946 58694 1398 1479 Yes 25 625 923 137388 138311 3294 1675 No 28 784 1158 257393 258551 6165 1920 No 30 900 1329 352350 353679 8421 2088 No Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 13 of 23 historically as fertiliser thus creating an “eco-cycle” (Fig. 7), Transport for future cities it has long been discouraged in developed countries because To overcome rising traffic problems, cities should be of food contamination by pathogens. This especially applies compactly structured with improved accessibility, and to uncooked foods such as salads. Progressive build-up of have a well-designed transport network. toxic, heavymetalsinthe soil andthusplantsisalsoalong In future cities effective transportation will play a key role. term problem. But merely treating sewage and discharging For the health and well-being of citizens walking and cycling the resulting effluent to rivers or the sea loses valuable nutri- between their homes, workplaces, shops and other locations ents, notably phosphorus, and also nitrogen and potassium, is already being encouraged. Undoubtedly these self- which have to be replaced from unsustainable sources. Van- propelled systems will be integrated into future cities, avoid- couver based, Ostara has developed the “Pearl Process®” that ing the modern day perils of mixing pedestrians, cyclists and recovers phosphorus and nitrogen plus magnesium from powered vehicles. For distances and occasions where self- waste water to produce a slow release fertiliser called “Crys- propelled travel is impractical then future cities will need to tal Green®”, which has a low heavy metal content . The strike a balance between mass public transport (buses and first European plant has recently been installed in Slough trams), individually-hired vehicles (taxis and rental cars) and UK to treat water from a local industrial estate. Although individually owned vehicles. Various technologies already in Crystal Green is presently sold for conventional agriculture, development will impinge upon the choices made, such as technology of this type will be essential for sustainable urban self-driving vehicles [106, 107], electric vehicles [108, 109] agriculture. Energy input, required to operate the process, and Aero-Mobil . Aero-Mobil is a flying car that inte- can potentially be obtained from renewable sources, espe- grates existing infrastructure used for automobiles and cially solar . planes. As a car it can fit into any standard parking space, Fig. 7 Eco-Cycle describing the recycling of solid waste and sewage for food, water and energy production for sustainability of future cities. Adapted from . Legend Advanced water treatment systems for clean water production and advanced systems for gasification of solid waste for energy generation could allow considerable amount of water and energy savings. These could be reused for domestic needs and urban farming for food production. Additionally required fertilizer for urban farming can also be produced from sewage with processes such as “Pearl Process” Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 14 of 23 uses regular gasoline, and can be used in road traffic just like consume less energy whilst reaching higher speeds than the any other car. As a plane it can use any airport in the world, conventional trains . but can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved Another imaginative idea, first proposed by Robert M. surface just a few hundred meters long. It is now finalised Salter in the 1970s, is the evacuated tube transport (ETT) and has been in regular flight-testing program in real where a vehicle occurs in a vacuum to eliminate air resist- flight conditions since October 2014. The Aero-Mobil ance and friction, . The ETT system envisions super- is built from advanced composite material includes its conducting maglev trains operating at speeds of up to body shell, wings, and wheels. According to company au- 6,500 km/h (4,039 mph) on international trips - that's New thorities the final product will include all the standard avi- York to Beijing in two hours! Although the proponents say onics and, an autopilot plus an advanced parachute that ETT could be 50 times more efficient than electric cars deployment system . or trains it is only a concept that is the subject of ongoing Undoubtedly safety will be improved over current trans- research . But the achievement of ETT would revolu- port systems, but a serious debate is required concerning tionisefuturelongdistancetransportation. citizens’ freedom to own their vehicles against potentially more energy efficient mass transport. The driverless, for- Administering future cities hire vehiclesummonedbyanapp may findincreasingac- According to the UN report 70 % of the world’spopulation ceptance. At present road vehicles are dual purpose, being will live in urban areas by 2050 [61, 62] with the number of used forbothmodes butinthe futureadistinction maybe cities expected to exceed 2000 by 2030, compared to 1551 drawn between intra-city transport and inter-city transport in 2010 . Whilst there are 43 ‘large cities’ with popula- [111, 112]. For long distances the speeds of trains may in- tions between 5 and 10 million in 2014, there are expected crease so journey times rival those of intercity aircraft, but to be 63 by 2030 . The UN estimates that there will be operate with superior energy efficiency, for example maglev more than 40 mega-cities worldwide by 2030, each with a trains [113, 114] exploiting superconductivity and the population of at least 10 million, compared to 28 today. It is “Aero-train” that is part train and part aircraft . projected that Delhi, Shanghai and Tokyo will each have Traffic and transportation are growing problems for all more than 30 million people by 2030, and will be the cities. In Europe, people are wasting 10 to 60  hours in world’slargest urbanagglomerations.Thismassive traffic jams each year, while their vehicles are contributing global growth of urban areas will requires develop- significantly to global warming by emitting carbon dioxide ments in administrative systems to ensure that techno- emissions and to air pollution by emitting nitrogen oxides logical advances described in previous sections truly and carbon particles. Therefore traffic management and deliver improved living conditions for all urban monitoring systems are currently already being applied in dwellers. Key challenges for future cities will be prod- many large cities and people are strongly encouraged to use uctivity, sustainability, liveability and good governance public transport instead of personal vehicles. Even though [122–125] as summarized in Table 3. some steps have been taken more radical, innovative will be Although the well-established scientific basis for global needed. Perhaps “futuristic” solutions can no longer be warming is well established, its full impact appears to be sev- viewed as engineers’ fantasies but essential to avoid increas- eral decades in the future, action is required now to amelior- ing urban transport problems. ate its effects by identifying, prioritizing, and structuring Chinese engineers have allowed a Hongqi Q3 car to navi- new design and managerial tools to improve urban environ- gated itself through traffic to a destination 286 km away mental and fiscal sustainability . Despite the vociferous guided by cameras and sensors . It is clear that com- assertions of those denying man-made global warming, the puters can be safer drivers than human beings. They can ill effects of “local warming”,known as the “urban heat is- react quicker, they can look in all directions at once and they land effect” (UHIE), are already manifest in large cities, espe- don’t get distracted. They won’t speed or cut people up. cially in the tropics and serves as early warning of what is Principally, self-driving cars will be connected with a wire- likely to happen worldwide as global warming becomes less network similar to the internet or telephone network more pronounced. UHIE refers to the urban temperature and all cars will be travelling on major roads under control being higher than that of the surrounding countryside, of satellite and roadside control systems . A traffic jam 3 K being not a typical, a combination of solar heat ab- will be predicted before it even happens by using roadside sorption by buildings, roads etc., heat emitted by vehi- sensors, GPS and other advanced software. cles, and the conversion of electrical to thermal energy, An alternate innovative design for future transport is the forexample by airconditioners. Aero-train which is partly train and partly aircraft. The ve- The UHIE does not just cause discomfort for urban in- hicle is designed with wings and flies on an air cushion habitants, it is also a killer. Various studies of temperature along a concrete track using wing and ground effects. This related excess mortality using historical data have shown minimises the drag effect allowing the aero-train to that during heat waves above a threshold temperature Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 15 of 23 Table 3 Challenges for future cities and desired objectives-principles to overcome these challenges [122–125] deaths increase significantly with each further degree rise. on Climate Change (IPCC) [128, 131]. Those who argue Not surprisingly, the young, old and those with serious strongly that man-made global is a myth and therefore medical conditions, a most vulnerable . nothing needs to be done to mitigate it, must face the If a city experiences a heat wave of lasting longer than consequence if the world follows their lead and they are 5 days the UHIE results in excess mortality that raises wrong people, especially the poor and vulnerable will steeply with every extra degree of excess temperature dur- die. The adverse effect of increasing temperatures is ing night time; the correlation is weaker with the daytime based on sound research and historical data. It is not a temperature. Not surprisingly, the young, the old and theory derived from a computer model. Planning and those with existing medical conditions are most at risk. building “cool” cities must be a primary objective of ad- Mitigation technologies such as increasing green urban ministrations now to minimise deaths. space and biodiversity, use of reflective materials, decrease In large cities excess mortality from attributable to high of anthropogenic heat levels and use of low temperature temperatures is exacerbated by air pollution, notably NO natural sinks (such as ground or water bodies) aiming to from internal combustion engines that ozone produced by counter the impact of the phenomenon are rapidly being de- the sunlight-induced reaction of oxygen with unburnt hy- veloped and applied in real projects . Rehan provided a drocarbons. Indeed, separating excess urban mortality detailed framework, including several measures that will di- arising from pollution and high temperatures is problem- minish the accumulation of heat in urban areas and mitigate atical. Fortunately mitigations for both tend to be the their UHIE by a set of planning actions as a strategy to cool same…for example by reducing fossil fuel combustion to the cities. The framework is given in Fig. 8 . Richer ur- supply electric power by increasing renewables, reducing banites can in principal, offset the effects of the UHIE the number of internal combustion engine vehicles merely by turning up their air conditioning or installing coupled with the provision of better public transport and more powerful units. But such would be socially reprehen- “greening” cities by planting more vegetation capable of sible since it would increase urban temperatures further to both cooling the air and absorbing airborne pollutants. the disadvantage of poor who cannot afford a/c or the Originally, “green” infrastructure was identified with power to run it. Nevertheless, to protect the vulnerable it parkland, forests, wetlands, greenbelts, or floodways in may be necessary to build air conditioned refuges where and around cities that provided improved quality of life or they can be sent when local temperatures are high. “ecosystem services” such as water filtration and flood Administrators are already aware of the need to incorpor- control [132, 133]. Now, green infrastructure is more ating UHIE mitigation as cities are further developed and is often related to environmental or sustainability goals that required in temperate regions as well as the topics. For ex- cities are trying to achieve through a mix of natural ap- ample Public Health England has recently published an ex- proaches. Examples of “green” infrastructure and techno- cellent guide the adverse effects of high temperatures and logical practices include green , blue, and white roofs methods to combat them, both short and long term .  (See: Fig. 9); hard and soft permeable surfaces; green Although excess mortality caused by the UHIE is oc- alleys and streets; urban forestry; green open spaces such curring now, it will be exacerbated by the rise in global as parks and wetlands; and adapting buildings to better temperatures projected by the Intergovernmental Panel cope with floods and coastal storm surges . Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 16 of 23 A cool city Benefits/gains Strategies Planning actions Spatial scale UHI thermal City effect Cool buildings comfort Albedo Reflective materials Develop the visual image of Green cities infrastructure; urban An urban parks- green roofs- greening Improve the land use (vegetation, air-water quality water installations) Prepare the urban environment for Green corridors future climate Open spaces Ventilation change Street orientation Reduced energy Local effect demand Environmental Environmental (neighbourhood management office scale) Fig. 8 Cool city- Framework  The climate adaptation benefits of green infrastructure are accommodation of natural hazards (e.g., relocating out of generally related to its ability to moderate the expected in- floodplains), reduced ambient temperatures and urban heat creases in extreme precipitation or temperature. Benefits island (UHI) effects, and defense against sea level rise (with include better management of storm-water runoff, lower- potential of storm-surge protection measures). The U.S. ing incidents of combined storm and sewer overflows Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also identified (CSOs), water capture and conservation, flood prevention, green infrastructure as a contributor to improving human Fig. 9 A view of an urban green roof in Chicago, USA  Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 17 of 23 health and air quality, lowering energy demand, reducing Much of what has been discussed above has ignored capital cost savings, increasing carbon storage, expanding the differing sizes of conurbations. wildlife habitat and recreational space, and even increasing Cities face different impacts, depending upon their land-values by up to 30 % [132, 135] sizes and levels of development. Small cities of upper Green infrastructure (GI) in urban areas can amelior- income nations are facing with population decline as ate the warming effects of climate change and the UHIE. a result of the migration to larger cities for better job In a study performed by Gill et al. (2007) [136, 137] it is opportunities and higher life standards. Diminishing found that that increasing the current area of GI in manpower makes it difficult for small cities to com- Greater Manchester, UK by 10 % (in areas with little pete globally in terms of economy and productivity. or no green cover) would result in a cooling by up to On the other hand large cities in developed world are 2.5 C under the high emissions scenarios based on facing with the impacts of aging infrastructure and UKCP02 predictions. The potential benefits of increased population. Increasing population creates inequality green infrastructure/green space on reducing UHIE are and social cohesion inside the cities while job oppor- presented below: tunities become more competitive . In contrast to developed nations, small cities in de- Trees and shrubs provide protection from both heat veloping countries are faced with the impacts of weak and UV radiation by direct shading (both of buildings economies and weak urban governance. Due to their and outdoor spaces). inadequate infrastructure and buildings, such cities Evapotranspiration reduces the temperature in the lack the resilience to survive natural disasters such as area around vegetation by converting solar radiation earthquake or flood is very low. This Survival is to latent heat. threatened and in many cases many people are forced Lower temperatures caused by both evapotranspiration to vacate their homes (See Fig. 10b). Even large and direct shading lead to a reduction in the amount of cities in the developing world with inadequate/insuffi- heat absorbed (and therefore emitted) by low albedo cient transport as well as poor housing stock, are man-made urban surfaces [136, 138]. threatened by demographic challenges resulting in social and economical inequality. Environmental pol- These changes can only be achieved by a city administra- lution is probably the most significant problem facing tion that has both the appropriate legal power and the will these cities, a result of the rapid industrialisation. But to serve all its city’s inhabitants, the poor as well as the rich. the latter potentially creates the wealth that can o o o o o o o o o o ab Fig. 10 Impacts of global urbanization; (a) Flue gas emitting from a factory polluting the air in an urban area, (b) People vacating their houses after a flood disaster. Table represents the specific impacts of global urbanization depending on the size and development level of a city Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 18 of 23 enable developing world cities to overcome their dapp (distributed app) founded by Dobson who claims that growing pains provided it is harnessed for benefit of it can be used to run large organisations by “collaborative all and is not siphoned off by corruption. decision making” . In many cities of China (See Fig. 10a) and India, These developments could potentially be just important environmental pollution, particularly P.M (e.g. oil to the operation of modern cities as the new engineering 2.5 smoke, fly ash, cement dust) level is sharply rising technologies. and threatening the human health as P.M particles 2.5 have the ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and Socio - economic development and prosperity of can cause severe health problems . future cities The severe impacts of rapid urbanisation can be Emerging cities should be where human beings find ameliorated by applying creative design to infrastruc- satisfaction of basic needs and essential public goods. ture. Ecosystems like multifunctional units will provide Where various products can be found in sufficiency several uses rather than a single functionality thereby sav- and their utility enjoyed. Future cities should also be ing energy, time and cost. For instance garden plots can the habitats where ambitions, aspirations and other serve as water management system while providing food immaterial aspects of life are realized, providing con- for citizens. Similarly multifunctional buildings could save tentment and happiness and increasing the prospects of time for people while allowing efficient use of land . individual and collective well-being. However in many Significant advances in computer simulation provided developing cities, prosperity is absent or restricted to some tools that enable us to evaluate current conditions and groups or only enjoyed in some parts of the city . requirements thus modelling future scenarios. This Low purchase power contrarily increasing expenses phenomenon will have increasing importance in future could socioeconomically pressurize individuals and cities to monitor existing conditions for efficient use of minimize their social subsistence. This situation will capital and natural resources or controlling traffic flow turn citizens from productive and creative individuals through wireless sensor networks [141–143]. In addition to the ones just trying to survive. “Liveable” cities it will allow modifying energy usage or household waste should support affordable living choices, provide citi- of urban dwellings with real time feedback [144–147]. zens options to have a social status and life condi- South Korea has already put this technology into practice tions independent than their income. Cities also in city of Songdo, where traffic, waste and energy usage should be compact structured with improved accessi- are monitored . Similarly in Rio de Janeiro there is a bility, they should include natural habitats allowing high-tech centre where public safety responses to natural biodiversity and socialisation of individuals and should disasters or building collapses are quickly identified [146, have a well-designed transport network which will 147]. The recent earthquake in Nepal demonstrated that, eliminate the need for private vehicles to overcome this kind of technological centre could save many lives the rising traffic problem in growing cities. Besides with timely intervention during disasters. they should offer a profusion of public goods, develop Technically, highly automated management systems are actions/policies for a sustainable use and more im- very attractive, but they have potential downsides. The portantly should enable equitable access to ‘com- amassing of large amounts of data about individuals’ daily mons’ in order to ensure well-being of citizens. lives is already creating grave concern, both via the inter- The future urban configurations should concentrate net and CCTV. Increasing data collection could offer the on efficient use of resources and opportunities that potential for city authorities to exercise greater control could help to achieve prosperity and citizen well-being over citizen’s lives. Technology must be tempered by in five dimensions as defined below and illustrated in democratic safeguards if individual liberties are not to be Fig. 11; infringed. The vulnerability of a highly networked city to a physical or a cyber- attack on data centres must be mini- Contribute to economic growth through productivity, mised. A fascinating concept currently being pursued is generating the income and employment that afford the adaption of the “block-chain” algorithm underlying adequate living standards for the whole population. “bitcoin” to the administration of organisations to increase Deploy the infrastructure, physical assets and transparency and to minimise corruption . amenities – adequate water, sanitation, power supply, For example recently “Ethereum” launched is a block- road network, information and communications chain platform that allows secure systems to be devel- technology etc. – required to sustain both the oped with transactions permanently and transparently population and the economy. recorded . Provide the social services – education, health, Large corporations already experimenting Ethereum, recreation, safety and security etc. – required for include UBS and Barclays. “BoardRoom” is a block-chain improved living standards, enabling the population Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 19 of 23 Fig. 11 Wheel of urban prosperity  to maximize individual potential and lead fulfilling among individuals of opportunities to pursue a life of lives. their choosing and be spared from extreme deprivation in Minimize poverty, inequalities and segments of the outcomes. According to recent reports, income gaps be- population live in abject poverty and deprivation. tween rich and poor are expanding in both developed and Protect the environment and preserve the natural developing countries [6, 151]. In OECD countries, in- assets for the sake of sustainable urbanization. equalities are as steep as they have been for over 30 years. In advanced economies, the average income of the richest The past few decades have witnessed a notable 10 % of the population is about nine times higher than surge in economic growth, but one which has been that of the poorest 10 %. In Europe’s Nordic countries, accompanied by an equally daunting degree of inequity the average is a multiple of six but growing, compared under various forms, with wider income gaps and deepen- with multiples of 10 in Italy, Korea and the United ing poverty in many cities across the world. Economic in- Kingdom , and up to 14 in Israel, Turkey and the equality is seriously detrimental to the equitable distribution United States . Riffat et al. Future Cities and Environment (2016) 2:1 Page 20 of 23 Cities must realize that equity has a significant impact Authors’ contributions DA and RP drafted the manuscript. SR has supervised the presented on socio-economic performance, since the greater the research, done the final revision of the manuscript and given final approval degree of equity, the greater the chances of a wider, of the version to be published. All authors read and approved the final more efficient use of available resources, including skills manuscript. and creative talent  Urban prosperity thrives on Acknowledgements equity, which involves reduction in barriers on individ- The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge the various reference resources ual/ collective potential, expansion of opportunities, and benefitted for preparing this paper. The valuable suggestions of the strengthening of human agency [6, 153] and civic en- anonymous reviewers in improving the quality of the manuscript are also greatly appreciated. gagement. Cities generate wealth, but the problem is the unequal distribution of it. Despite considerable increases Received: 17 October 2015 Accepted: 11 February 2016 in productivity (e.g. GDP per capita) along with reduc- tions in extreme poverty, inequality as a whole is growing References in most parts of the world – a process that undermines 1. 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Future Cities and Environment – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 25, 2016
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