Redesigning future cities

Assuming everyone is aware of the fact that everything is changeable, imagining how cities might have formed in the future, sounds like an interesting thing to do. Urbanisation is something that has been happening for ages, but are today’s cities built to handle the growth and changes to come? How can we offer everyone shelter? What can we do about vacancy? Should we demolish everything and rebuild sustainably or should we find alternative ways to rearrange cities? One thing we know for sure is that technological possibilities are increasing rapidly. An important thing to keep in mind is that we ought to decrease our burden on the environment and work together towards a more sustainable future.

Nowadays people start building vertically in order to use less surface on the ground. Also farming has been brought into the city in the form of ‘’Rooftop Farming’’. A lot of food is being produced locally which results in pride for your own city. There are many initiatives that think along with the rearranging possibilities of cities. I have researched a couple concepts that, in my opinion, will contribute to the rearrangement of cities.

One thing all cities have in common is that there is always some degree of homelessness. To what extent can we call homeless-life ‘’life’’, if the circumstances of this type of life are so unimaginable for those who are not part of it? The Italian artist Biancoshock took this problem into his own hands and created a solution for the homelessness problem. He designed and created rooms and living spaces in abandoned wells throughout Italy. Some of them contain a shower, others a living room and others a kitchen. The series of restructured wells is called Borderlife. Biancoshock states on this website: ‘’If certain social problems are unavoidable, the least we can do is make them more comfortable.’’ His goal is to have people think about those who are regularly overlooked by society.

I’d like to keep this next innovation small and under the ground. This next innovation is called The Groundfridge. This is a refrigerator built in the ground that does not need electricity to keep it cooled. The water in the ground keeps the fridge cool and the meter of dirt atop of the fridge makes sure it doesn’t heat up. Your goods are cooled in an all-natural way and you save a lot on your electricity bills. This way you can spend your earnings on other things.

Another innovative service, that is in line with the current festival lifestyle is the Sleepboxx. Adhoc Horecamakelaardij sells these Sleepboxxes as basic mobile trailer-hotels. Each trailer can offer up to 24 beds and is equipped with solar panels that take care of the electricity inside. The Ecocapsule on the other hand is another type of accommodation that offers more privacy. The Ecocapsule is an egg-shaped and easily transported house. It’s 8 square meter and contains a kitchen, bathroom, shower, work and eat corner, foldable bed and storage. Furthermore it is designed to be sustainable, for it has solar- and wind panels and captures rainwater that it filters. A fine example of sustainable living.

Soulmate pop-up furniture offers people the opportunity to open a pop-up restaurant for a day or more. The company offers a truck that is completely equipped to cook for and host 60 people. Guests can sit either inside or outside and the whole truck can also be converted into a stage. Because of the pop-up concept, an existing company can cultivate extra publicity, but starting entrepreneurs can also evaluate if there business concept would survive when completely setup.

All innovative concepts mentioned above have a common factor, being that they are useful for those people that are constantly on the road and quite often without a permanent residence. The next concept is one for those who do have a permanent residence, but are visiting another place. It is called VEN Amsterdam. It is a place hat combines accomodation, relaxation and business affairs. The whole concept is built to exemplify ‘’change’’ and ‘’experiences’’. It is a unique place where the past and future come together, work and relaxation mix easily and where possibilities and opportunities are pretty much the same thing.

Our city living environment is more than just the buildings and how we decorate and furnish them. If we want to work on a sustainable future, while living in a city, we might want to work on some fresh air as well. TreeWiFi is a company that is very aware of this. They have developed a little machine, shaped like a birdhouse that is supposed to be hung from trees in busy streets. The machine examines the air quality and if the surrounding air is dirty with many fumes and cigarette smoke, a little red light will turn on. When the air is fresh and healthy a green light will turn on. Once the green light turns on the little machine will automatically generate a strong Wi-Fi signal for the entire street. A fantastic reason for people to travel more by foot or bike and smoke less.

A large city is always on the move. If we think away the cars, busses, trams and scooters, and do not have the time to walk everywhere, bikes are an exemplary form of transportation. And which country uses the most bikes? That’s right, Holland does. The Dutch ride their bikes a lot! Of course this is not completely accident proof. A very comical joke that Google has recently introduced was the self-steering bike. You can activate the bike from a distance and even order it to pick you up somewhere. A bike without someone steering it in the right direction. It will look strange at first, but it will cause the rider to have a lot more time to use for other things along the way. Even though this bike was an April fools day joke, it is an interesting view into a possible future.

Tomorrow’s cities are constantly changing and innovating. Every instant new inventions are made in order to make our lives easier and more comfortable. Sustainability being a very important and relatively popular goal for all inventors. The truth is we have no idea what cities will look like in 10 years or even next year. All we know is that change and innovation are inevitable and that we ought to be lenient towards our fellow men and environment.

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