With an increasing focus on environmental issues and sustainability, today’s town planners are thinking carefully about the future. Increasing urbanisation, growing populations, changing patterns of work and transport and increasing concern about the environment are all combining to force innovation in the field of city planning. More people are trying to utilise their existing space by creating places to work like garden studios from places like http://www.gardenspaces.co.uk/garden-rooms/garden-studios/ to work from rather than commuting to work saving both time, money and fuel consumption.
And with the right infrastructure investment, future cities could look incredibly different to those of today, with sustainable, clean operations and an overall enhanced quality of life. So what will the future look like?
Self-Driving Electric Cars
Hybrid cars are already a reality, but self-driving cars that use electricity are likely to be the next step. As with modern hybrids of today, they will power up from the grid to supply electrical energy to the battery, but they won’t require additional fuel. There will be no petrol stations, carbon-dioxide emissions and smelly exhaust pipes. And with self-driving auto technology, accidents should also become a thing of the past. Google is one company looking to move ahead in this field.
Urban design advice and consultants are looking at how green buildings will play a role in tomorrow’s cities. Green homes will almost be alive themselves, with intelligent applications that monitor our resource and energy usage and adapt in real time to our needs – saving on emissions, energy and money. Living accommodations are likely to become more compact but ever smarter in design, with quirky options that allow a single space to be used in a multi-functional way through flexible furnishings.
Future cities will also make use of solar-powered transport such as buses and trams. Adelaide in Australia has already moved ahead in this field with the first solar-powered electric tram. These systems will be extremely fast and may be elevated above dirtier road systems so that they run on rails above the cities.
Smart Grids and Solar Surfaces
A new wave of smart grid solutions will use fibre optics to allow power sources and users to experience real-time communication. This will lessen the risk of blackouts, save money and increase energy-efficiency. At the same time, renewable energy installations will begin to appear in surprising locations. Solar PV panels will cover building exteriors and transparency developments may also see solar panels doubling up as windows on offices and in public transport. Pavements and roads that use kinetic energy from pedestrians and traffic may also be used to develop green energy for the city to use. Technological advances may see floating wind turbines, floating turbines that can hover in the outer atmosphere and also solar technology that allows the sun’s energy to be harvested from space and then transported safely back to Earth.
Changing Work Patterns
A shift towards flexible working, remote working and digital roles will also see fewer people being obliged to physically commute to an office each day – saving carbon emissions, stress on public infrastructure (and individuals), time and money. People will work using digital applications from their homes or from networking hubs in an increasingly flexible way that supports a cleaner and greener future for all.