Will Urban Planning Change Drastically in the Future?

What will the cities of the future be like?

Will environmental, energy, social climate transform into something very different from what we're experiencing today?

While I'm sure this is an oft-debated topic among some in our industry (design & construction), it's not one I'd spent a great deal of time pondering. Most of us are normally concerned with keeping what we've got and building what we need next with some well-researched, but, quasi-vague concepts of the future of a small area.

The other day, I was cruising around LinkedIn (a professional networking site... that is blocked by my IT guys at work, so you may want to wait until you go home to check it out) when a journalist solicited options on 'What Does the City of the Future Look Like?'

My knee-jerk reaction was that, due to energy concerns, as well as social factors, we'd spread out a little more, reforming into smaller communities.

We'd have an urban hub where shipping, manufacturing, services and transport would be centered, surrounded by many smaller towns. Transport wouldn't be necessary within the communities, because they'd only be a few blocks long, and you could walk to any local merchants, or take a train into the service hub.

On the train into the larger city, you'd pass by wind and solar farms, where energy is generated for your ride, as well as for your home; in addition to other community bubbles.

What about working, I don't want to take the train in every day?
Well, that's no problem since all white collar jobs have been reorganized to be telecommuting positions. Virtual meetings will be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing due to cameras, projectors and microphones.

What do you think? Am I off my rocker? Are those proponents of hyperstructures more in tune with future trends?

Share your thoughts, insight, education or whatever else you have in the comments section, or on your blog and link back. I'd love to absorb more viewpoints on this interesting topic.

Some (somewhat unrelated, but) thought-provoking articles:
Massive Change and the City
Massive Change - Design of the World
Futurist - Cities and the Future
A Tale of New Cities
Ghost Cities of 2100
Your Imminent Robotic Future


Anonymous said...

They ban LinkedIn?

Stikes me a a bit dumb. I hope that doesn't happen at my work. Unlikely when the CEO uses it :-)

Mistress of the Dorkness said...


Over 50 of my coworkers (that are currently listed as such) are members... maybe IT or another administrative department are just afraid we're trying to find another job through there (of course, very few of the job search sites are blocked, so maybe that's not it).

Of course, SNOPES.com has also recently been banned. Snopesing has cut down on my email SO MUCH over the years (when you give people a verbal smackdown, they tend not to send you more unverified carp), but, I'd imagine that is more because of the popups or the forums or something.

JTB World said...

Have you read about Dongtan?
They found that the optimal size was 50 residents per acre like Stockholm.


Mistress of the Dorkness said...

Absolutely brilliant links... those are great, I hadn't read about Dongtan yet, but, I like what I see.


Anonymous said...

I certainly find your vision more appealing than the mega-highrises most people seem to be proposing.
I lived in Gowanda, NY for a few years and found that community to be ideal in many ways: density without crowding; banks, post office, supermarket, pharmacy, hardware store, schools, restaurants, and hospital all within walking distance. The only thing lacking was public transportation.

Mistress of the Dorkness said...


Thanks for your comments. I'm also not personally keen on highrises and close living like that.

I've never heard of Gowanda, but, this demographics snapshot looks fairly pleasant...

I think convenient, efficient and safe public transport is going to be important no matter how these cities turn out. Unfortunately, America just wasn't built with that in mind.


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