Today, there are 34 mega-cities with a population of over 10 million in the world. Researchers predict that this number will continue to grow over 80 by the year 2100. The chances of you finding yourself in one such mega-city in the future, after revival from cryonics, are high. Luckily, city planners of today are thinking ahead to keep these numbers sustainable. In this article we take a look at a multitude of observable trends that are giving us a good idea on how future-proof cities are being constructed.
A regions’ population can be divided into 3 geographic areas:
Current trends in Europe show that most urban and suburban areas are on the rise, growing year by year, while rural communities are slowly declining. This change can largely be attributed to the vast possibilities available right at your doorstep within a city in comparison to the limited options people have in the countryside. It’s not just a matter of convenience either, as cities are commonly capable of providing better healthcare than your average secluded town.
Over time, statistics predict that these advantages will make more and more people flock to urban regions. Rural areas will certainly still exist in a century, but most developments will be made in urban regions, making it probable that you will want to live in a metropolitan area as well once you wake up after cryopreservation.
But how exactly are they developing towards the future? Let’s analyse current trends on building sustainable cities.
Different cultures bring with them a multitude of individual ideas of what a modern city should look like. Globalisation has led to considerable overlap of such in the past few decades, still Berlin will most likely never look the same as New York. Therefore, as a Europe-based cryonics company, we will put our focus on European trends for this article.
In April 2016, “The Basque Declaration”, a document outlining “new pathways for European Cities and Towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities for a liveable and inclusive Europe”, was acclaimed by the participants of the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns.
The declaration  proposed 15 transformational steps, split into 3 categories, to build future-proof cities:
538 European cities and regions have endorsed the Basque Declaration, making it a good guideline as to where they are headed.
In the next few paragraphs, we will take a look at what concepts are trying to push for this vision.
Modern architecture today has two main goals: to be clean and simple. Buildings constructed this way often forego unnecessary design elements for the purpose of being resource efficient within a limited space.
Modern infrastructure borrows from that idea, and expands this philosophy from buildings to entire cities.
The biggest “waste of space”, according to urban management, comes in the form of large roads and horizontal architecture. Minimising the excessive need for roads within a city could free up more living space, be it for housing or free time activities. Focusing on multi-story buildings in turn leave extra room for so-called “green” and “blue” spaces, aka greenery and water necessary for heat management (more on that later). Even more space can be freed up by pushing most public transportation underground, a system already practised in a variety of metropolitan areas via subways. In addition to lowering, or removing car traffic, this practical use of space allows city planners to design the urban area with efficiency in mind, without making it feel too cramped.
On top of optimising infrastructure inside a city, urban areas should also continuously cooperate with rural towns near them. No city is an island after all (except for Singapore). Despite all efforts of urban farming, there’s a good chance that food supplies will largely remain a contribution made by rural farmers for the foreseeable future. Another development to note is that bigger production and manufacturing facilities are increasingly moving to suburban or rural areas, away from cities. EBF’s cryopreservation facility for example is also located in a rural town near Zürich. So, instead of cutting rural areas off from the city-life, they are likely to see even more connectivity, and assist one another as time goes on, building a sustainable regional supply chain.
Today, over 50% of the European population lives in an apartment, most of which are found inside urban areas. According to research, urban areas are likely to move even further in that direction. With the cost of living increasing, a lot of young people default from living together with their family, to moving into shared apartments instead of renting out a whole flat for themselves. As shared living spaces become increasingly popular over solo apartments or houses, more buildings are being constructed with this in mind.
This extends to the exterior side, where the brick-filled roofs of old are often re-designed to flat surfaces used as public living spaces. Many urban gardens and pools are not found at your backdoor anymore, but rather on the roof above your head. Another way to utilise the top of an urban building is to install photovoltaic panels on them. Electricity generated from this can then directly be used by the building’s residents living below.
But we’re not done making good use of our living quarters just yet, as the roof isn’t the only space we can utilise for gardening. “Vertical gardening”, a concept as old as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon some 2500 years ago, isn’t just nice to look at, but practical to boot. By planting greenery on the outside walls of buildings, it is possible to reduce urban heat by a significant amount, while simultaneously increasing air quality in the area.
Areas within a city that are accessible by anyone without restrictions are called “public spaces”. This includes parks, public squares, roads, beaches and more. A common issue of non-green public spaces is the generation of “heat islands'', areas in which a lot of heat forms due to large fields of asphalt and stone. Heat islands are a common correlating factor with mortality-rates during the summer-months. This has pushed the phenomenon up in the ranks of areas to eliminate when designing public spaces.
One way to achieve this is by having more “green” and “blue” spaces, which would both have the opposite effect, effectively reducing the temperature of their surroundings. Planting more trees would also provide additional shade in the summer, while rivers and lakes can be used simultaneously as bathing spots for city residents. The typical “grey cities” of old might finally be a thing of the past soon.
The first stones for sustainable cities of the future are being laid today. Modern architecture and infrastructure is putting available space to good use, while also increasing the quality of life. Urban housing is shifting in a more community-focused direction while utilising free roofs and walls to increase energy-production and air-quality. Furthermore, public spaces are turning a new leaf, shifting from a bland grey to more green and blue colours.
While architects and city planners are busy making these futuristic cities a reality, cryonics is working hard to give you a chance to eventually live in one of them. A trip to a modern city should definitely be on your bucket list once you wake up from cryopreservation.
Do these prospects make up a city you would want to live in, or are you hoping for a more out-there concept like floating cities to take root by the time revival from cryopreservation is possible? Let us know on our Discord Server!
If you want to know more about the process of cryopreservation, or have any other questions, feel free to schedule a call with us! We are happy to talk to you!