Future of Urban Design

More than half the world’s population already lives in urban areas, and in two decades that number will be more than 60 percent. How will the cities of the future deal with such an influx of people? With good design, of course. First and foremost our future cities must be human centred, places designed for people, not vehicles, buildings, and businesses. Creating vibrant communities, connections, and relevance between people and place is paramount. 


To create flourishing cities of the future, we will need to address issues like public health and community building. Creating vibrant downtown districts, mixed-use spaces, human-powered and intermodal transit systems, and green spaces are all critical to this goal. Vibrant cities need to have great air quality, clean water, and healthy citizens. Cityscape should encourage walking and biking as well as micro-communities where people live, work, and play in the same vicinity.  


Autonomous vehicles will revolutionize our future streets. Once AVs are safe, on demand, and zero-emissions, they have to potential to transform. Public transport will be automated and much more frequent and shared Bikes and electric scooters will be on every corner. These efficiencies will free up street space formerly used by human drivers, therewith creating open space for commerce, fitness, and relaxation. This pedestrian-centric streetscape, shall prioritize sidewalks and bike lanes over cars and encourage more outdoor time. 


To accommodate skyrocketing populations but preserve open spaces Buildings will be large-scale and will be an ecosystem, like a city that will be in use 24/7. Because buildings are one of the biggest consumers of energy worldwide, they will become their own decentralized, renewably generated power plants. Using high-performance façades, photovoltaic panels, and geothermal and wind energy, buildings will generate their own energy, while smart technology and the smart grid will help them share it hyper-efficiently.  


Injecting green space wherever possible, in form of parks, balconies, green roofs, vertical gardens, wetlands, and bioswales (landscape elements designed to concentrate or remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff water) will be a key feature of future cities. Such natural elements also aid in combating the effects of climate change. As our day-to-day activities become increasingly tied to engagement with digital interfaces, maintaining a strong connection with the natural world becomes increasingly critical, especially within a large city of the future. 

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