The Earth’s human population is ever growing. By 2050 it’s set to approach 9 billion. Considering our constantly increasing demands for energy and the emergence of less developed countries becoming the new superpowers we, as a race, need to develop sustainable cities and fast!
French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has a vision for a Paris of the future. For 2030 he wants the outlying areas (banlieus) and the body of the city to be united into a Grand Paris. This herculean task is being handled by a team of ambitious architects. Some of the outlying areas are run down (La Courneuve, Clichy-sous-bois), others are simple (Montreuil, Pantin, Malakoff, Montrouge, Saint Gervais) and others are supremely historic and grand (Neuilly, Versaille, Saint Mandé, Vincennes and Saint Germain-en-Laye).
Paris has an inherent beauty of its own and the scheme will have to segue into all these different characters seamlessly.
Compared to London’s sprawl and population of 7.5 million inhabitants, the French capital’s 2 million Parisians look rather paltry. One reason is the périphérique, the ring road encircling the city acts as a physical barrier. So the new plan is going to massively upgrade the road and bridge infrastructure and build in plenty of public transport routes. There will be links to the airports and an automatic super metro some 130km in length.
Sarkozy also favours revitalising former industrial sites along the Seine and expanding the capital’s links to the Channel with a high-speed connection to the port of Le Havre. All the plans will be in full compliance with the Kyoto agreement.
Masdar (Arabic for source) City is a brand new city designed from Day One to be totally eco-friendly and have a zero carbon footprint. A massive investment into thin-film photovoltaic solar energy manufacturing back in 2008 has made the Masdar PV company a world leader in renewable energy. The panels are eight times larger and five times more powerful than the industry standard.
This German facility is the first-ever fully Abu Dhabi owned and operated high-tech venture in the heart of Europe. The annual production capacity range of 0.2GW
TIAJIN CITY CHINA
Goh Chye Boon, chief executive of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment & Development Co. says ‘We want to influence our neighbours. With the right ingredients, with the right eco mindset, I think together we can change the environment.’ In Northern China a new eco-city is under construction. The advertising billboard depicts a well-laid out habitat where the residents can drink tap water, travel on clean-energy public transport and relax in large open spaces – a big about turn from the regular sprawl of polluted cities elsewhere in the country and the world.
It’s intended to be the home of 350,000 people and will provide for their needs with shops, hospitals, schools and businesses. Hitachi and Philips will provide green technology for the development, where buildings will be insulated and have double-glazed windows to increase energy efficiency.
Nearly 66% of household waste will be recycled and 20% of the city’s power will come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar; unfortunately the remainder will be from coal power. Treated sewage will be channelled into a lake which will supplement water supplies for local communities. Hopefully the project will be a success and act as a model for a long-term solution to the country’s ever growing population.
Known simply as ‘Ziggurat’ this city is to be an environmentally sustainable futuristic city housed inside a pyramid. The city will employ natural renewable energy resources of solar, wind and steam and supported by a carbon zero system. This harnessing of nature to support a potential population of one million residents is being developed by Dubai company, Timelinks. According to their website this 2.3 square km base pyramid ‘will provide a harmonious, ecological, and safe environment. Ziggurat is a city where people, nature and modern technology unite to harmonize family, work, and entertainment.’
Self sustaining such a structure will be a feat indeed; with the hope that the city will be self contained in that it will need no external power is expected to be achieved by ‘water evaporation, steam, solar energy, wind turbines, and hydroponics.
Even if the Ziggurat is viable, perhaps having so many people living so close to each other may not be ideal for their emotional and mental health.
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