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Africa

Cities of the Future, Part 2

akon city

Last year we did a round up of some of the most interesting new cities being developed around the world. In just one year, even more new urban areas have shown up on the map. While science fiction books and films have long depicated ‘the future’ as a glass and steel world full of technology and skyscrapers, the real future in some regions of the world is looking a lot greener, (and thank goodness for that, right?!)

Cities are key to the sustainability of human life and the survival of millions of species on the planet. Cities produce the most waste and give off the most emmissions; they are also the places where the most people live. On a positive note, since cities are such a nexus of human activity, intelligent planning can create significant improvements.

It’s becoming more and more critical to build sustainable new towns and cities. Building sustainable communities will help reduce the amount of waste that gets produced and limit negative environmental impacts.

Let’s look at some of the newest cities around the world and the innovative solutions that are being applied.

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Akon Crypto City

You may have heard of Akon, the famous rapper with numerous international hits. To celebrate his life achievements, he was granted 2,000 acres of land by the government of Senegal. Now, he plans to use it to build his own city. There are multiple parts to this ambitious plan. Akon plans to create a cryptocurrency called AKoin. This currency will be the official currency for the city.

Akon has already been worked on installing solar power across Africa and plans to incorporate solar prominently in the city. While the city in Senegal is still in the planning stages, we can expect more exciting announcements from Akon about his future city and what it will look like. If it is a success, Akon City could change the way that we incorporate technologies like solar power and cryptocurrencies into other future cities.

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Toyota Woven City

Another interesting new development is Toyota Woven City, an updated take on a company town. This small city will be built on 175 acres around the base of the iconic Mount Fuji in Japan. The manufacturing of the city will take place at an existing Toyota factory. Once complete, the city will be run off hydrogen cell technology and will be able to accommodate around 2,000 people. It might be difficult for tourists to visit, as most of the space will be taken up by Toyota employees and their families. The purpose of the city is to allow the company and employees to test new technologies before they are released to the public. For example, residents will be able to test cars, robots, smart homes, and artificial intelligence. Testing will allow them to make sure that everything has been perfected before it gets released to the public.

The Woven City will feature an innovative road design. Part of the road will be reserved for high-speed vehicles, another part for slower ones, and a third section exclusively for pedestrians. This street design inspired the name Woven City. Toyota Woven City is still in the planning stages, with construction expected to begin in 2021.

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ReGen Villages

As the effects of climate change start to become more apparent around the world, one of the solutions might be to live in self-reliant communities. To achieve this vision, ReGen Villages is planning to combine technology and regenerative natural systems within their communities. For example, they will take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) to better monitor energy and water consumption. This technology will enable them to help create off-the-grid neighborhoods, which can produce organic food for their residents.  They are expected to begin construction on a community consisting of 203 homes in the Netherlands in 2020. This first community will allow them to test and refine the designs before building more communities like this in the future.

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Verksbyen

Verksbyen, in Norway, is set to start looking into greener ways of constructing apartment buildings. There is a range of methods that they intend to use to do this, such as using laminated timber. This type of wood will help make the buildings more sustainable. They will also be able to build an entire story in just one week, so an entire building can be built in just over a month.

They also plan to use solar panels to help generate electricity. Solar panels will decrease reliance on power plants, helping further reduce emissions. They also plan to heat the apartments using thermal energy, decreasing energy consumption. Some of the buildings have already started being built, with an additional five expected to be finished by the end of 2020. If everything goes smoothly, it will allow them to prove that these methods are viable. 

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Dumb Cities

While many people believe that incorporating the newest technologies into future cities is the way to go, there is a growing movement calling for the creation of “Dumb Cities.” The idea is to integrate ancient knowledge and techniques to solve modern problems. There are a few benefits to taking this approach. For instance, because they don’t require as much technology, they will have lower emmissions and won’t need to be fixed or updated all the time.

Though this ancient knowledge has existed for thousands of years, its applications to modern problems haven’t been thoroughly explored and considered. As more buildings are constructed in new cities, they disrupt the original ecosystem of the region, replacing waterways and removing green areas. Disrupting ecosystems has the potential to lead to flooding, loss of biodiversity, and other issues.

Copenhagen has created a series of parks around the city. These function as green spaces for residents to enjoy, but they also absorb additional rainwater, turning to lakes during heavy rainfall. Green spaces are a more practical and cost-effective solution than building a new levee.

Human visions of the future are quickly changing. There is now a greater focus on sustainability and incorporating new technologies with ancient knowledge. We looked at some of the more innovative new cities and some of the approaches that they are taking. These cities might pave the way to a beautiful and sustainable future.

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