Future cities have the potential to develop any way they want, so we will have a large amount of variety throughout the world. This picture does a good job of showing what an environmentally friendly future city might look like. Instead of building outwards, we will begin to build up. Each of the glass bubbles will host its own indoor ecosystem. Everything will be designed for the benefit of renewable energy, and will utilize much less energy than current homes/buildings/skyscrapers.
Ideally, I believe that cities of the future will look more like small bubbles among the natural landscape of the Earth. Natural things will be interspersed with everything inside the cities, if only to add more oxygen flow and look pretty. Out side the cities, highways will have physical barriers from the natural parts, keeping mother nature safe from us. I expect by then power usage will still be high, but so much of it will be personalized through solar and wind power, and won’t depend solely on power plants. It is hard to say about architecture, because building things is always changing, but I believe the materials used will recycled rather than raw. I could go on and on, but that it what I believe our impact on the outer environment will look like.
It’s a little hard to conceive for those of us raised on Star Trek, but it’s unlikely there will be star ships with people taking elevators from deck-to-deck, and it’s unlikely in 100 years that many people will bother leaving their homes, except perhaps to go to work, when it involves physical labor. We’re already to the point where a typical person in the West spends hours a week in front of the TV, and a typical video game player spends the same or more playing video games.
In 50 years, virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft will become so rich, detailed and compelling, people will lose interest in what houses and cities look like in reality. Note that it’s already been that way in traditional Islamic cities for centuries: There’s really nothing much to look at outside, so often they don’t even bother to paint the outsides of buildings. Inside, they can be ornate, expensive, and especially … cool.
Probably there will be parks, but much of the farmable surface will probably just be for growing crops — natural solar power. Surface roads and freeways take up space, so many may just be underground.
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