If the world we live in is anything to go by, we have already caught a glimpse into what a futuristic city of tomorrow will resemble. Only, the future city will be more developed and advanced within the next decade or two.
The main idea driving innovation in futuristic cities will be sustainability and green energy. Cities will be reducing their carbon footprint to make our environment cleaner and greener. These futuristic cities supported by AI and IoT will keep us cool while the planet heats up.
Are you curious to take a peek into the future of tomorrow’s world? Read on to learn about the innovation that will be building and creating the world of tomorrow.
Energy Efficient And Greener Cities
The climate is transforming, and the world is getting hotter every year. With the changing climate, cities are becoming more carbon neutral and energy-efficient. In cities of the future, fossil fuels will be replaced entirely by renewable energy sources, like wind power, solar power, hydropower, and geothermal energy within the next ten to fifteen years.
Cities like Barcelona, Spain, are aiming to be 100% energy self-sufficient by 2050. Barcelona plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and produce enough energy to meet its local municipal needs.
Zero Emission Smart Cities
With companies like Tesla, Toyota, and others producing electric vehicles, the reliance on oil, gas, and fuel to power our vehicles will no longer be necessary. Our cars and other forms of transportation, including buses and trucks, will be fully electric.
Developments in technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) will be used for controlling lighting heating. They will help make our homes and cities of the future more energy-efficient and more intelligent. Los Angeles, for example, is fitting 4,500 miles of sodium-vapor streetlights with a moonlit matrix of LEDs.
The streets will be brighter and be more connected. Every energy-efficient LED lamp will be connected to the Bureau of Street Lighting, informing them when a streetlight is on or off or non-functional. In the future, the lights will change based on their surrounding environment. If an ambulance or the police pass by, they will blink and brighten up for pedestrians walking home from work.
The benefit of being less dependent on fossil fuels is hundredfold as the planet will no longer be producing high carbon emissions. The knock-on effect for this will be that the planet will gradually start cooling down.
Another stellar example of a city moving towards zero-waste and zero-carbon emissions is Masdar in the United Arab Emirates.
For cities to keep up with the rapid pace of development, they will have to figure out methods to use and re-use resources wisely. Future cities will have to get comfortable with doing more with less.
Infrastructure will no longer be used to do just one thing only. Smart cities will need to provide the infrastructure that will provide several benefits across economic, social, and ecological systems.
The Future Of Mobility In Smart Cities
In cities of the future, getting around from city to city, or even from country to country, will be made more accessible by massive developments in transportation. Companies like Archer Aviation and Uber Elevate are building eVTOL (electric vehicle take-off and landing) vehicles that can get you to any part of the city without the hassle of peak hour traffic.
These eVTOL vehicles are operated by electric and battery power, making them completely carbon neutral and energy-efficient. Using a smartphone app, you can hail any of these flying vehicles and fly to any destination in half the time that it would take you by road.
Robotaxis will also be a reality as autonomous vehicles will no longer be sci-fi but a reality. Calling a Robotaxi will be as easy as ordering food through an app on your smartphone. Cities of the future will manage traffic volumes comfortably using advanced AI and IoT.
Intelligent Traffic Management Systems will collect and analyze incoming data from roads, bridges, and highways to improve traffic flows and routing. Companies like VITRONIC can prohibit certain vehicles like heavy-duty trucks from entering city centers using intelligent traffic monitoring and management.
Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) can improve traffic flow and road safety using sensors, cameras, cellular technology to adjust traffic lights dynamically, freeway on-ramp meters, bus rapid transport lanes, speed limits, and highway message boards.
All of this will only be made possible with AI, data analytics, big data, and IoT. Cities of the future will have fewer traffic problems, and commuters will reach their destinations safer and stress-free.
Imagine a world where your daily calendar and schedule are integrated into a Robotaxi platform. An AI assistant can book your Robotaxi for you to transport you to your meeting on time! If you need to get to a meeting or drive into the city to do your grocery shopping, a reminder will pop up on your smartphone to remind you about an event or meeting.
The Future Of Connectivity In Smart Cities
Being connected to the world only helps economies grow, scale, and further develop. Staying connected to the global world is even more accessible in smart cities thanks to free Wi-Fi available for everyone. Countries like Helsinki in Finland and Tallinn, Estonia already provide free Wi-Fi that helps their citizens stay connected.
You could easily chat to your supplier that is across the world in China while you’re travelling to work in a Robotaxi.
Companies like SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Blue Origin are already sending satellites into space to create a global network of satellites to interconnect countries and cities.
The Future Of Agriculture In Smart Cities
As climate change becomes an increasing global problem, food production and agriculture will be dramatically affected. The world heats up, and more countries become dry, arid, and un-farmable.
In the future cities, food shortages owing to damaged crops from drought and natural disasters will no longer exist. More innovative agriculture methods and intelligent farming will ease food shortages and improve food production.
Artificial intelligence, connected sensors, drones, and analytics will further increase outputs and improve the efficiency of water and other inputs.
The population of the world is estimated to reach 8.7 billion by 2050, requiring a 70% increase in calories available for consumption even as the costs for its inputs keep increasing. Food production will increase with more sophisticated digital tools, and production costs will fall, facilitating higher food distribution globally.
Mixed-Use City Development
The rapid growth in urban expansion will push urban planners to develop alternative solutions. It is predicted that by 2030, 60% of the planet’s population will reside in cities. This could spell disaster if appropriate measures are not taken to improve the situation.
Mixed-use developments and buildings of the future will be sustainable and allow for the optimized use of resources and space.
Mixed-use buildings will enable city inhabitants and neighborhoods to integrate home, work, shopping, transportation, and green spaces. Toronto’s Sidewalk Labs is already making mixed-use buildings a reality.
Mixed developments are found in all shapes and sizes. Sidewalk Labs creates shared spaces that are more open to integrating energy-efficient and sustainable buildings. In Medellin, Colombia, The Library Parks use multi-use spaces that bring people together to create a new urban hub.
Bridging The Future
Bridges in a futuristic city will not only connect two points, but they will do far more than that. An example of a multi-use bridge is under construction in Washington DC and is expected to be completed by 2024. The 11th Street Bridge Park will consist of an amphitheater with pedestrian and bike lanes across the Anacostia River.
Tomorrow’s futuristic cities will feature enclosed programmatic skybridges that contain offices and restaurants like the Linked Hybrid Building in Beijing. Innovations like MULTI will allow residents to access the different levels and mixed-use areas effortlessly. MULTI is the world’s first ropeless elevator to transport residents up, down, left, and right.
Today’s Futuristic Cities Of Tomorrow
A few cities have already made giant leaps in bringing their cities closer to intelligent cities. Europe is already ahead in its smart city development. The European Union is encouraging member nations to develop smart cities.
An estimated €365 million has been allocated by the European Commission to build smart cities. North America lags even though it is one of the most urbanized cities globally. Still, this hasn’t prevented North America from moving ahead with its development of smart cities.
Below is a list of a few international cities that have already begun work to make their cities more intelligent and energy-efficient.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures, a French firm, has proposed multiple high-rise buildings with positive energy output. This plan was followed by a Climate Energy Plan to reduce 75% of greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.
In 2014, London deployed an intelligent parking project termed “SmartPark.” SmartPark enables drivers to locate parking spaces quickly and eliminates the need for searching for parking spots. The benefit of the smart parking approach is that it alleviates traffic congestion.
The city of Copenhagen is planning to become the first carbon-neutral city by 2025. The Norhavn district implements heating with smart-grid integration to demonstrate how heat, electricity, electric transport, and energy-efficient buildings can be integrated into one energy system.
New York City
New York City is trialling out a connected vehicle technology (CVT) to help New York reduce road accident deaths and injuries sustained from road accidents and damage to vehicles and infrastructure.
The CTV project focuses on safety applications that rely on vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and infrastructure-to-pedestrian communications. In addition, the CTV project provides drivers with alerts for the driver to take action to prevent a crash and reduce the severity of injuries or vehicle damage.
The city of Singapore is making progress toward becoming a futuristic city by digitization and developing an efficient public transport network. Innovation is filtered through the “Vehicle To Everything” (V2X) project. Once these plans come into place by 2025, all cars on the city streets will be autonomous.
However, this is just the first stage of the project. Plans are underway to facilitate vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Vehicle-to- Vehicle and traffic-light-to-Vehiclecommunication will alert drivers of pedestrians crossing and notify them when an emergency vehicle passes.
Reduced traffic congestion and increased road safety will only be possible with artificial intelligence and investments in sustainable infrastructure.
A few years ago, Singapore faced water supply issues and was forced to import water from Malaysia. However, that changed when the city changed its building plans to capture rainwater from building roofs and sidewalks.
The captured rainwater is collected in 18 collection points. The collected water is purified in purification plants which makes the water drinkable. The city of Singapore has gone a step further with improving rail transport by creating a driverless subway network.
The city of the Philippines has taken the boom in demographics and climate to a whole new level. The Philippines, with its population of 107million people, suffered damaging typhoons between 1996 and 2015.
The absence of natural barriers and its geographical position have put pressure on the government to improve the liveability of cities and reduce pollution. The Philippine government promised to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030.
Manilla began the construction of the city’s first subway in 2019 which will be partially operational by 2022. The subway will significantly reduce congestion and is estimated to carry around 370,000 passengers in its first year of operation.
The development is based on a plan to be environmentally and economically sustainable. The idea to make infrastructure “greener” will be an opportunity to improve the quality of life and be a business opportunity.
As future cities become more sustainable and resilient, they will have to prove their value across multiple dynamics. Our future is bright, and innovation is here to stay.
With the use of clever, smart city practices and the widespread adoption of IoT devices and sensors, the futuristic city of tomorrow will step up to meet the demand of its residents efficiently and effectively.