Improving and innovating business performance is what we’re passionate about, and in our daily practice we come across many great and inspiring examples.
The Disease And Cures
The Disease And Cures
In the search of space, the first option is to go up. Nothing new one might say, but looking at recent developments, the new skyscrapers will be more than just buildings. They will be entire cities, being tower-like metropolises. By combining all needed services and utilities people will never have to leave their building. An interesting feature, since researchers state that living in tall buildings usually reduces social encounters because of lack of propinquity – psychological proximity between people. With the possibility to encounter people within a tall building in a recreational setting, more social interaction will occur.
Furthermore, when combining possibilities to work inside these metropolis buildings, people can save resources as well as time spent in traffic trying to commute to work.
Many countries have developed plans to build these metropolis-like buildings, saving space and resulting in a high capacity of population per horizontal square meters. Upcoming metropolitan buildings are the Dubai city tower (or Dubai Vertical city, expected in 2025) and the Burj Mubarak al-Kabir in Kuwait (announced to be built).
To make use of the available space, opposed to going up in the sky, another option is to build “down”. Building underground offers more possibilities to expand laterally than linearly (i.e. expanding wide instead of expanding deep) as surface room is usually already quite occupied.
Another factor to consider is that by building underground inhospitable outdoor environment due to extreme conditions can be overcome.
An architecture firm in Mexico City is championing the idea of building an inverted pyramid in Mexico City. This so-called Earthscraper would create an underground mini-city, while maintaining the purity of the historic architecture surrounding Mexico City’s main square.
The building is designed such that a glass square will be the “rooftop” of the building, which acts as a public square and will serve as the entry of natural light.
The building is designed with a fibre-optic system to ensure that light can reach the deepest levels. Also there will be vents in the top sheet to allow natural ventilation. Another interesting idea is to use geothermal energy around the building to allow the future metropolis to be self-sufficient.
The idea of the inverted pyramid also contributes to the support of the building; if the building would have been designed in a vertical straight shaft, the walls would need enormous supporting structures to prevent collapsing.
Still the concept of underground building comes with a lot of practical problems, such as the effect of underground building on the surrounding area and evacuation plans in case of disaster.
The Earthscraper is still a concept and the Mexico City still has to decide if the project will be pursued.
In the search of space to live, life on water is an interesting thought, especially considering that about 71% of Earth’s surface is water-covered. Floating cities could be a solution in finding extra space and coping with rising sea levels due to climatic changes.
The idea of cities on the water is still in the concept phase, the first real cities have to be built.
The concept of a floating city is quite straightforward: it is basically a city floating on water. Several initiatives are being developed to be created in the near future. They come in various forms such as boat-like-cities, or connected (floating) islands.
There are already some ideas on how these sea cities can be self sustaining: examples are the usage of abundant wind available at sea, conversion of ocean thermal energy (which provides fresh water as well), usage of photovoltaic membrane to harvest solar energy and aquaculture farms.
Another interesting concept is that mobility on the waves leaves communities a degree of political independence. The seasteading institute proposes a series of floating villages which would have political autonomy. By using the cities as a start-up incubator for political systems, the new aquatic communities would serve as experiments in governance.
With living in the air considered to be impossible in the foreseen future, expanding to areas where people currently cannot live is the final option.
Russia for example is attempting to colonise the Arctic, by having designed a self-contained city called Umka. This city should keep the inhabitants from freezing by creating a sealed environment. It aims to contain all facilities to sustain as an autonomous city.
Cities like these may provide a solid basis for living in unsuited places in the world or for example for future space colonisation.
Thinking of future space colonisation, the European Space Agency, Russia and China have all expressed interest in building a base on the moon. There are proposals to look at low-cost solutions for a permanent base on the moon.
One of the ideas is to let a robot 3D-print a lunar base using lunar soil.
Once the base is set up, ten people can start living there starting a lunar community. Food and water could initially be flown in from Earth, but would be quite expensive on long-term. Therefore there are ideas for a longer sustaining solution by creating vertical farms with tilapia fish in an aquaponic system; this is a system where waste of the fish can be used to grow other vegetation.
Water could be processed from the ice water found on the lunar poles.
Living on the moon may be the first significant development for mankind to expand to Mars and beyond on longer term.
In history there have been quite some changes in the way of shelter: mankind has moved from caves to castles, from castles to skyscrapers and from skyscrapers to … living in outer space. One thing is sure, the world needs to be creative in order to shelter all people with the growing world population.
It will be interesting to see which (technological) possibilities mankind will grasp in the near future.
Mahersh specialises in (data-driven) analysis supporting and validating market strategic advice.
With this quantitative background he optimises strategic advice based on financial touchpoints, such as strategic scenarios, business cases and forecasts.