3 Futuristic Cities Being Built Right Now | Unveiled
VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
WRITTEN BY: Dylan Musselman
Cities of the future... and here! Join us, and find out more!
In this video, Unveiled takes a closer look at 3 futuristic cities that are being built RIGHT NOW! Including The Line in Saudi Arabia, the Maldives Floating City, and Woven City in Japan... will these incredible designs become the trendsetters for modern city living??
3 Futuristic Cities Being Built Right Now
Science fiction doesn’t always get it right… but, for decades now, we’ve looked toward our cities to showcase the best technologies we have. And today there are some that promise to truly revolutionize the way that humans live.
This is Unveiled. and today we’re taking a closer look at three futuristic cities that are being built right now.
The “city of the future” concept has had a somewhat checkered past. And the experiments we’ve seen in history haven’t always gone to plan. In the 1960s, for example, the US Navy ran a series of tests involving an ocean habitat known as SEALAB. The idea was to build a facility underwater where people could live for long periods of time, as well as to test out the reality of living in isolation and to gather data on deep sea diving. The project had three phases, SEALABS 1, 2, and 3, but was ultimately shut down after that third iteration because of numerous problems including sabotage and even death.
Elsewhere, researchers have before looked into building a completely self-contained ecosystem with Biosphere 2, in 1991. This futuristic habitat was again designed to test out the possibility of living in an environment cut off from the outside world. Biosphere 2 contained a number of distinct environments within itself. It had its own ocean, its own rainforest, a fog desert, and a grassland. Participants in the experiment attempted to survive in this mini world, but it too was eventually shut down after various problems. SEALAB and Biosphere both failed, then, but in some ways they ushered in the present era of future city-building.
Out of all of the futuristic cities being built right now, the most imaginative and unique in design is probably The Line. This is the planned first outpost of a Saudi Arabian futuristic city-state called Neom. Neom promises to be one of the most spectacular places on the planet when it’s finished, although there’s no solid estimate on when that will be. Regardless, The Line is going to be very different from traditional cities. Instead of having an open landscape with thousands of buildings, The Line will consist of only two parallel skyscrapers that stretch, unending, for 106 miles (or 170 kilometers) toward the Red Sea in Northwest Saudi Arabia. That means the city itself will only be a few hundred meters wide, as all of the living quarters, shops, restaurants, and transportation happens inside each of the two key buildings that reach 1,640 feet (or 500 meters) into the sky. On either side of The Line - a new breed of vertical city - it’s said there will be open desert promising fantastic views. It’s said that eventually it will house up to 9 million people.
The plans are for this to be a purpose-built city with all the mod cons. Built in climate control to ensure the best temperatures all year round; a centralized high speed rail allowing access to any part of the city within 20 minutes; an entirely carbon neutral output. Such is its innovative design, there are also plans to have no cars or streets inside The Line. More broadly, it’s said that Neom will have flying taxis, that there will be waterfalls fitted throughout, and robotic, AI service machines. At the very top end of proposals, there are even claims that Neom will be cloud seeded and that it’ll one day have an artificial moon.
The Line isn’t on its own, though, in terms of next-generation city locations. There’s also the Maldives Floating City. Already approved to begin construction in the Indian Ocean, close to the Maldivian Capital of Malé, this city is planned for completion in 2027. If that target is hit, it’ll be the world’s first ever city constructed entirely on top of water. Every building here - from homes to shops, hotels to schools - will be built to float on the ocean. The outline of the city is roughly circular with different hexagonal segments of floating roads to link everything up. This unique grid is specifically designed to mimic the efficient and aesthetically pleasing patterns of coral - providing a clear bridge to the natural world. To further demonstrate this symbiosis, it’s said the city will also promote coral growth on the underside of the buildings and infrastructure that will make it up. This move should also provide a natural wave breaker to lessen the potential for damage.
By the time the Maldives Floating City is finished, it’s expected to house up to 20,000 people across 5,000 different floating units all separated by canals. Because the design is so water focused, this city also plans to have no cars. Instead, citizens can travel around it via bicycle, motorized scooters, or boats. Walking will also be encouraged, as the city plans to have a network of bridges, docks, and beaches to further connect it all together. But arguably what makes the Maldives Floating City especially futuristic is its wider purpose. It’s being built to directly combat climate change, which is projected to lead to rising sea levels that will inevitably cover certain areas of land underwater. The islands of the Maldives, as they are, are particularly at risk. But, by building the first city to truly exist on top of the water, it’s hoped that this place will become a pioneer for water-based settlements all over.
But finally, and when we more stereotypically picture a futuristic landscape, there’s a tendency to imagine a hub of technological sophistication and advancement most of all. When we consider future cities purely by these metrics, Japan’s Woven City might just be the most advanced that’s currently under construction. Being built at the base of Mount Fuji by the famous car manufacturer Toyota, the idea behind it is to create a living laboratory where great thinkers will gather to innovate and bring new technology into the world. One of the main hopes for Woven City is that it will revolutionize transportation by separating roads based on purpose and method of commute. If all goes to plan, a series of different, clearly categorized streets are going to be built - one for pedestrians, one for personal vehicles, and one for automated cars. There will then be a fourth underground pathway built specifically for the transportation of goods in and out of the city. From the beginning, efficiency has been at the heart of this design.
Most exciting, however, are some of the other technological plans. Although Woven City will be constructed mostly out of wood, it will also be truly a smart city - designed that way from the start, rather than converted after-the-fact, as is happening at some other locations. The many different buildings of Woven City will be connected with sensors that share data back and forth. This is similar to how devices in smart homes can now be paired to our phones, but on a much larger scale. Here, the buildings, the people, and the vehicles will all share data… which will then be channeled toward testing and developing different AI technology, to maximize its potential.
To continue a running theme, Woven City will also feature self-driving vehicles - rather than old fashioned cars - and these will be zero-emission. In terms of energy, it’ll all run off of solar power and hydrogen fuel cells. The smartness of the city goes further, though, with proposed sensor-based AI installed inside homes, too, to monitor every citizen’s personal health… while AI service machines will be fully integrated, as well, in a bid to make life even easier. Woven City will initially be open to only 360 residents, mostly innovators, but there are already plans to expand to 2,000 residents in the near future. Phase 1 for the project hopes to open between 2024 and 2025.
Times are certainly changing, and the city age on Earth is fast entering a whole new era. There are many other, similar planned projects in the pipeline, as well, including the New Administrative Capital in Egypt, Telosa in the western US desert, and Chengdu Future City in China. But those are for another video. For now, we can see that there are various aspects that make these cities unique, but also some traits that link them together - most notably a seeming reconnection with nature, as designers apparently try to avoid the mistakes of the past.
What’s your verdict on the places featured in this video? Would you want to live in any, all, or none of them? Let us know in the comments… because those are three futuristic cities that are being built right now.