August 10, 2014
Welcome to the City of the Future
Would you like to take a glimpse into the near future?
Join us as we explore some of the exciting and innovative technologies that are set to make our cities cleaner, greener and safer.
Energy Independent Buildings
The above property is stunningly beautiful, but it is also representative of a new generation of self-sufficient buildings.
With the optimum design and appropriate technology, it is possible for a building to generate enough electricity to power itself. In many cases more energy than needed is generated. This surplus energy can be sold back to the grid.
The essential elements making this possible are:
- Correct orientation to the sun.
- Adequate solar panelling.
- The right kind of building insulation.
- Energy-efficient appliances.
Designing new buildings to be energy independent is likely to become the number one priority for property developers. As well as being super energy-efficient, these futuristic houses will also be much cheaper to live in, and as a consequence – very popular with residents.
Of course it is not just residential buildings that can be energy independent. Commercial properties such as offices, shops and cafes could also be designed in such a way as to be 100% energy self-sufficient.
Green buildings will be central to the city of the future.
Don’t let the negative stories you have undoubtedly seen on military drones cloud your judgement. There may be bad drones – but there are friendly ones too!
As you will see, friendly drones have abundant benefits to offer the cities of the future.
If you have been keeping an eye on the news, you will be aware of Amazon’s aim to launch a revolutionary delivery service called Prime Air. This service will enable depot-to-door delivery of small items in record time (estimated to be 30 minutes or less). How is this possible? Because Prime Air will use dedicated drones to fulfil the deliveries. These autonomous drones will be free from traffic congestion, and able to fly on direct routes.
It won’t just be Amazon either, already Domino’s and DHL are taking steps toward drone delivery. Expect many more companies to follow suit.
Friendly drones can offer far more than just delivery services. Picture them high above cities mapping traffic problems, monitoring pollution, and providing unique aerial perspectives on sports and cultural events. These are just a few examples.
Electrically powered, drones have zero emissions. They can also be charged directly from renewable-energy sources such as solar and wind.
They will definitely be a key part of our future cities.
Future cities are likely to be more densely populated than they are today. Many people by necessity will live in apartments rather than houses. However, this doesn’t mean residents will have no access to green spaces.
As shown in the photo above, roof gardens can provide valuable access to sunlight, fresh air and nature.
Apartment and office blocks typically afford the perfect flat roofs that can be transformed into fabulous green areas. Not only can roof gardens offer important sanctuaries to residents, but they can also be used to grow fruit, herbs and vegetables.
They can also provide community meeting spaces where residents can socialise together.
Self-Driving Electric Cars
You may have heard of Google’s driverless cars. But are their plans pure science-fiction?
Not at all.
The reality is that self-driving cars will be the norm within the next few decades.
They offer many benefits which may not be immediately obvious. Here are just a few:
- Fewer accidents. Computers can drive far safer than humans.
- Greener. Optimum speed, braking and route are all automated.
- Passengers can rest or work while travelling.
- Fully electric cars. Think quiet, clean and reliable.
- Elderly and disabled people will be free to independently travel.
Crowded city roads will also pose no problems for self-driving cars. They can pick the best routes, drive nose-to-tail to other vehicles, and even self-park!
The biggest hurdle to self-driving cars is likely to be the mind-shift required to let go of wanting to be in control of a vehicle. It is not easy to let a computer take charge. However, once people experience the multiple benefits of self-driving cars, any hesitation is likely to be overcome, and the cars will quickly begin to be adopted as the dominant road vehicle.
Our electricity usage and supply are set to be radically transformed over the next few years. This will be achieved by the already in progress roll-out of smart grids.
What is a smart grid?
In as simple terms as possible, it is the ability of an electric power grid to operate super-efficiently through automated monitoring of individual, city and national energy usage. The benefits include: energy-saving, stable supply and cheaper pricing.
One example of how consumers will interact with the smart grid is through smart meters.
Installed in the home, smart meters will enable you to see in real-time how much energy is being used by different devices and at what times. This innovative window into personal energy usage has been shown to result in lower energy demand. When you can see how much energy you are using – you tend to try to reduce it!
Smart grids can quickly learn peak times of energy demand for cities and countries. They can also plan and adapt for these times. Through advanced storage devices, alternative forms of energy such as wind and solar will be able to contribute throughout the day and night to the grid.
All of this will be managed automatically by smart grids.
Solar-Powered Public Transport
Imagine super-efficient public transportation that is powered 100% by the sun.
Whether in the form of buses, monorails, trams or trains, city public transportation is set to become solar-powered. This is possible through the impressive recent advances in solar-power technology and energy storage devices. For example, thin-film solar can be installed on the top of vehicles, laid on tracks, or even embedded into road surfaces.
A self-sufficient public transportation system will be at the heart of every city.
Quiet, clean, and reliable. It is easy to see why they will be the primary form of transport. As well as providing convenient travel within a city, they will also offer lightning-fast city to city travel options.
Solar rays are abundant. When captured and turned into electricity, they are perfect for powering the public transportation systems of the future.
While technology will never be a cure-all, it can help make the city of the future a place that you would want to live and work in.
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
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