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What Will Cities Look Like In 100 Years?

VO: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Christopher Lozano
Life in the future can be hard to predict, but we're already seeing some cutting edge technology emerge today that will one day shape our lives. The cities in 100 years, in the 22nd century, are sure to look, sound and feel very different from the metropolitan centres of today! Some say we'll live in sci-fi floating houses... Others say we'll be living underwater... In this video, Unveiled finds out what cities in 100 years will look like! How do you think the world will be different in the 22nd century?
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What Will Our Cities Look Like in 100 Years?


Our cities have a major impact on how we live our lives. Traffic, housing, infrastructure . . . all of these play a role in our day-to-day. With urban technologies advancing at breakneck speed, what will our cities look like in the future?

Perhaps the most important aspect to consider in designing a city is the threat of natural disaster. Cities on fault lines, for example, have different construction codes from those built in hurricane areas. As global temperatures continue to rise, and heat records are broken every year, melting ice at the poles will lead to rising sea levels. We could very easily see ice-free Arctic summers within our lifetimes. If we fail to address the problem, we’ll have to change how our cities are built.

One rather extreme solution is the creation of floating cities. Some companies and governments are putting together plans to create large livable areas which float on the surface of the ocean. In 2017, French Polynesia made a deal to allow the Seasteading Institute to explore the first steps in constructing a floating city. This would address the problem of rising oceans and eroding coastlines. One of the hopes in creating floating cities is that they’d exist in international waters and be able to govern themselves better.

Similar to floating cities, are underwater cities. Japan construction firm Shimizu Corp has released plans to deploy a 26-billion-dollar underwater city called Ocean Spiral by 2030. It would house several thousand people and draw its energy from the seabed and ocean currents. Plans for this city include residential and business zones. It would contain many of the necessities humans require to live. The project is backed by the Japanese government and Tokyo University.

Then again, maybe underground cities would suit us better. We already have buildings with large underground spaces, and subways are common in cities throughout the globe. So it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for humans to develop more extensive underground dwellings, potentially powering them using geothermal energy sources. In the past, underground living areas been developed in emergency situations, such as when the Vietnamese built the 75-mile long Cu Chi Tunnels during the Vietnam War. They included sleeping quarters, recreational areas, and medical sections.

Wherever we build in the future, technology will revolutionize our urban environments. WiFi is becoming more and more pervasive, and cities of the future could become connected in more ways than we can imagine. Once cities embrace being connected, we could have amazing reception everywhere we go. This would also mean that advertisers might connect to you as well. When you drive past that billboard on your way to work, it might know you’re passing and display a product you’d be especially interested in.

Speaking of driving to work, we might soon live in a world where self-driving cars and transportation systems are common. This would make navigating cities easier than ever, and allow goods and produce to be transported more efficiently over long distances. The only problem would be fuel . . . Due to limited oil reserves and climate change, at some point we’ll have to switch from gasoline to electricity - and from coal to renewable energy sources. On the plus side, a city redesigned to take advantage of renewable energies could provide a grid that allows self-driving cars to recharge easily. The rise of autonomous and electric vehicles will create a big change in how we design and build our cities. When horse-drawn carriages gave way to automobiles, roads changed from dirt to pavement. We may see similarly dramatic changes with the advent of electric, self-driving cars.

All these new technologies and structures will require some serious natural resources. However, extracting them from the earth often comes at great environmental cost. Several countries and companies are exploring ways to harvest the rich natural minerals within asteroids and other space objects. One trip from the local asteroid mine could yield amazing amounts of precious metals. These materials could then be used to build the smart houses of the future. These homes would be connected to the internet in all kinds of unique ways. Maybe your alarm clock will tell appliances in your kitchen to start preparing breakfast, or your car to warm up automatically.

The modern world is more connected than ever . . . but we all run into cell and wifi reception from time to time. In the future, satellites will continue to improve, making communication faster and more reliable. All this high-speed access could mean that many jobs can be performed from home. We can already phone into meetings halfway across the globe, but virtual computing would make it like we were there in person. Teams could meet in virtual spaces without having to travel at all. This means that there’d be fewer people on the road and potentially less pollution.

On the subject of work, workers of the future might need to work a lot less because of automation and efficiency improvements. At first, this could have a devastating impact on employment, robbing many people of their livelihoods. In the long term however, people may one day look back at our working culture the way we look back at factory jobs in the Industrial Revolution. The whole idea of work will have to be re-examined as we come to realize that many of the things we need such as food, water and shelter are easily provided thanks to advances in food production and robotics.

With more free time, people could develop more communal areas for their cities. These spaces could provide many basic services for the population and serve as a way for people to feel more connected in an otherwise disconnected world.

If floating, underground, and autonomous cities don’t excite you, then how about space cities? If we continue to overpopulate the planet and fail to answer our climate problems, humanity might be forced to move to the stars. Instead of looking out the window and seeing a parking lot or run-down building, you might see the entire earth floating in front of you. Plans are already underway to put people on Mars, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to envision cities on the moon or rotating around Earth like satellites.

The future of our cities depends on a lot of things, but if we can solve some key issues, then they’ll be some truly exciting places.
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