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The world is changing rapidly. New technologies are changing the way live, new lifestyle choices demand new ways of living and more and more people are moving to the city and leaving the countryside. Plus, with climate change and better awareness of the effects of human activity, many more people are changing their lifestyles to become more environmentally friendly.
So how does this affect city development?
The foundations of any city are vital for overall development. New York, for example, can support so many large skyscrapers because it is built on marble, though you’ll notice that there are no skyscrapers in the midtown or downtown areas as the foundations here aren’t as strong.
Water is one of the major issues for unstable foundations. However, systems can be put in place using technologies such as inflatable packers for grouting to form a strong drainage system. This may lead to more adventurous architecture, especially in cities with a high water table and increased risk of flooding, though whether architects are willing to take on that sort of challenge now is less sure.
One of the main reasons people move to the city is to be more interconnected. They want to get to work easily; they want to find cafes, bars and restaurants to eat at; they want to be entertained. All of this means that city planners must keep their residents in mind as the city grows.
On the most practical level, interconnectedness means that getting from one place to another needs to be made easier, safer and cheaper for residents. The future of roads is already promising exciting developments such as driverless cars and smart roads to make commuting better. For the city, already grown up around small alleys and awkward spaces, incorporating this technology has to be a priority.
When we talk about the future, we have to talk about technology and the development of our cities is no different. Technology already abounds in our cities and it is a natural assumption that it will continue to shape spaces too. The smart city is already here and the question is not when but how technology will shape everything from infrastructure to cafe culture.
Future-proofing is a big deal for city planners right now. We are more aware than ever before that technology is shaping society (just as society is shaping technology) and this has a big impact on the way our cities grow up. We are well aware of the issues with resource management and efficiency within our cities now so planning ahead should give an insight into future solutions. Even if those solutions are to problems we aren’t even close to facing yet.
Planning and imagining the future is always a challenge and we only have to look a generation or two back to see how wrong we can get it. That Star Trek’s crews relied on tapes is adorable in a world reliant on Cloud computing. But just remember, we have a talking computer now so that speculation wasn’t all wrong.