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The Skyward Future Of Vertical Cities

One factor that contributes to our changing climate is our expanding population. Increasing numbers means increasing demands for space, food and power. In response, some ingenious people contributed to writing a book about solving the problem. They called it, the Vertical City.

The concept is based on a very simple notion; that we are running out of space. By as soon as 2050, there could be as many as 10 billion people on earth, 80% of whom will be living in urban areas. When you consider how much of the total amount of land on earth is unusable, how much is needed for farming and power generation, a population of 10 billion means space would be hard to come by. The theory, then, is to build upwards, instead of outwards. Instead of sprawling cities and infrastructure and urban landscapes, you have a small number of huge skyscrapers, interconnected with one another, providing all the needs of the inhabitants.

To be able to hold the sheer number of people, this skyscraper metropolis would need to be huge of course. For instance, the tallest building in the world currently is the Burh Khalifa in Dubai, standing at 828 metres tall. The skyscrapers of the vertical cities would average 1600 metres tall, double the height. Imagine that, five or six buildings of that size sitting in a quarter mile square space. The plans in the book Vertical City, has laid out how this would provide everything needed for a full city’s population.

Using such technologies as wind energy, solar, hydroelectric and biofuels, the city’s buildings would be able to run itself almost entirely self-sufficiently. Building, working and living at height in this way means that the wide spaces our cities currently take up is nullified to a huge extent, and further large amounts of space will not need to be taken from nature.

These concepts provide more benefits than just healthier living, renewable energy and a greener world. These benefits are accumulated without sacrificing any of the social living styles and customs we are so familiar with. The city would be divided up into sections, allowing areas for shopping, restaurants and other social activities. It would allow areas for outdoor activities, though not as necessary as the big wide world outside the city would be better appropriate.

flickr | jonathan hartsawIn addition to this, farming too has been thought of as a way of sparing space. These are even being built up now in places like the States and Singapore. Using technology and controlled conditions, these multi-story greenhouses can grow plants all year and all day round, recycle nutrients and water in a way you can’t do on a normal farm. This way of farming saves huge space, money and health as pesticides would be unnecessary. This, too, could fit into a vertical city complex, yet again undermining the need for great expanses of space to farm. Instead you have food sources and supplies that take up no more space than homes or shops, further increasing the amount of space that is given back to the wild world.

So what does all this mean? Is this an under-the-radar fix to our global problems? Well, in theory it’s a brilliant plan, one that has been thought through extensively to account for costs and times and other obstacles that may lay in its way. For now, it seems the biggest obstacle is getting traction with the idea. The video attached gives such a good account of Vertical Cities and the prospects of it.

There’s more to it too, beyond the practical needs of renewable living conditions. It proves that the effort and the intent to heal and fix our world with innovations that go beyond pie in the sky dreaming and ideologies. This idea might well seem farfetched, but it is as well thought out an idea as you can find anywhere. Realistic in the immediate future or not, it shows practical thought and attempts to salvage a world scrambling to come up with the game changing idea to save it. Realistic or not, that makes it worth looking over with interest, right?

By Guy Bezant - Online Journalism Intern

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