What will the future of London look like?
Urbanization: the city of tomorrow
The understanding of landscape is also changing in the highly urbanized areas. The landscape is not an untouched natural area at the gates of the cities, but becomes an important component in the middle of the city, which contributes to a high quality of life and a better urban climate. With the future climatic changes, cities are facing new challenges: concrete and asphalt transform into heat stores in summer, and the increasingly heavy rainfall is pushing sewage systems to their limits. Intelligent city concepts and smart designs combine the potential of nature and technology. Green facades regulate the temperature in the city and improve the air quality. Smart materials and surfaces generate energy. Old industrial plants and infrastructures that are no longer required, such as the former Highline in New York, are becoming green recreational areas. The increasing water quality enables spontaneous bathing fun in the middle of the city. Copenhagen, the green capital of Europe in 2014, has created a high quality of life through its environmental policy and the merging of landscape and city - and is therefore extremely attractive as a location for companies and the creative class.
Cities provide an excellent example of the relativity of numbers: in terms of area, they only cover two percent of the earth's surface. In doing so, however, they consume 75 percent of the energy required worldwide and produce 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. With new technical developments and climate policy requirements, it will be possible to drastically reduce the energy consumption of cities and even turn them into energy producers in some cases. Villages and small towns in particular will generate some of the energy required for large cities in the future. The ownership structure influences this trend: homeowners are renovating energetically and transforming their houses into small power plants. Rising energy costs are an important driver here. Wind power and solar systems can be installed in the vicinity. The surplus energy from these villages is then fed into the surrounding cities via the smart grid.
The new localism is not only gaining relevance in terms of energy generation. Some of the food production also takes place right on the doorstep. It is already evident that there is hardly a metropolis that is not sown, weeded and harvested. Urban areas are being transformed into green oases on flat roofs, fallow land and residual urban areas. Driven by the desire for eco-correct food, flourish around that Urban gardening new business models. Large urban farms, brightly lit green, high-tech skyscrapers in the cities producing food, are still a distant vision of the future. However, the first small, innovative initiatives are already making urban agriculture visible: Edible mushrooms thrive in the cellars of residential buildings, and in container farms fish are bred and vegetables are grown in a symbiotic nutrient cycle - with considerable development potential that creates new markets.
All over the world, city dwellers are getting older. The Federal Statistical Office predicts for Germany in 2050 that over 30 percent of the total population will be 65 years or older. Demographic change is not a European phenomenon. In the power state of China, too, aging poses new challenges for the future. By 2050, the number of Chinese people over 64 will triple to 335 million. An aging urban population demands new supply structures and mobility concepts. The universal design of mobility design, i.e. a design that is easy to operate and use regardless of physical and mental constitution, is becoming the key to urban life. With the demographic change in cities, the markets for numerous mobile services are also growing. Those who can no longer do everything on their own, but want to live largely independently, need help - whether shopping or traveling.
But new forms of living will also establish themselves. In the USA this is already a phenomenon in the suburban area. There are already housing estates there on the scale of entire villages, which make 65+ a requirement for entry. In Europe one counts on the concept of age mix. Integrative residential buildings for young and old are also intended to provide exchange and contact for elderly people living alone. Urban leisure activities will also increasingly be geared towards the needs of the elderly. But that doesn't mean that there will only be courses for aqua gymnastics and bingo evenings. Aging has long since ceased to mean retirement: The “new” old people are fitter than any generation before them, technically savvy and full of zest for action. You still have enough time to actively shape life. This will also have a positive impact on city life.
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