Could Vertical Cities Become a Reality?

Imagine a world where cities were vertical rather than spread out horizontally across the land. With land in some countries becoming increasingly limited, due to global population growth and cities becoming increasingly overcrowded, thoughts are turning to different ways of urban living and this could mean a world where we live and work upwards.

One such place where urban centres are changing more than anywhere else is in China, and by the end of 2015, one in three of the world’s buildings over 150 metres will be in China, whilst by 2020 the country is expected to house six of the world’s top ten tallest buildings.

The Shanghai Tower, designed by Gensler an American firm may be one of the first buildings that has come nearest to a “vertical city”. The building forms a spiralling trunk where all the amenities including homes, offices, shops, galleries and multiplexes are all stacked up on a vertical plane. One third of the space will also be devoted to green space and its “sky gardens” will include flora from all around China.

Another idea is to link tall buildings with sky bridges and elevated plazas creating a ground floor in the air, allowing the sense that you could escape, rather than be trapped inside one building.

One such proposed development is Cloud Citizen, a 1.7 million square metre complex in Shenzhen in southern China. If this development goes ahead this mega building will include sky bridges and plazas that connect the towers, and will include offices, parks, cultural facilities as well as homes that are able to harvest rainwater, produce food and use the sun, wind and algae to create power. It would literally be a mini city within a city.

Some people are so fascinated by this concept of vertical living; they really do believe that this could be possible someday, whilst others can think of nothing worse with the sense of being trapped inside a building.

Instead of commuting across the land by car, train, bus or ferry, your commute could become a lot shorter and quicker, consisting of going up and down each day to your office higher up in the sky.
This would also potentially mean that the loss of farmland and greenbelts will be reduced as well as reduction in air pollution, especially as China’s air pollution and congestion is so bad.

Authors Kenneth King and Kelogg Wong have written a book called VERTICAL CITY : A Solution for Sustainable Living and believe that a vertical city would bring a sense of community as well as helping to address environmental, formal and socioeconomic/political concerns. It would also help to save energy, support the growing population as well as being able to preserve our horizontal spaces for food production, nature and recreation.

I personally believe that vertical cities that we’ve all seen in those sci-fi movies won’t be taking over the world just yet, but it is one option that we should be thinking about if population growth continues.
Published on 20th of November 2014 by Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich


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