The Future of Architecture: Vertical Cities

vertical cities


The world’s population continues to grow, with over half of us already living in urban areas and that number expecting to rise from 54% to 66% by 2050 according to the United Nations.

But with land increasingly becoming scarce, how will our already busy cities cope with accommodating millions more people?

To be sustainable, cities will need to become more space savvy – making room for not only more commercial and residential spaces but infrastructure and public services that will be able to cope with an increased population, such as roads, schools and hospitals.

However if there’s no room to build out, then the most logical answer is to build up and that’s exactly what’s being proposed by many architects.

The idea of cities spanning as high as 400 stories, self contained and fitted-out with homes, offices, shops, schools and leisure facilities – allowing for all day-to-day activities and facilities to be accessible without ever stepping outside.

Although the idea of vertical cities may seem like blue sky thinking, OXO Architects started off 2015 by proposing their City Sand Tower. A vertical city in the middle of the Sahara Desert, using renewable sources such as rainwater, solar power and geothermal energy to sustain a ‘city’ full of people.

While Architect Ken King, established a non-for-profit organisation in 2014 dedicated to the idea of vertical cities. King states, ‘We advocate this new urban form because we hope to inspire the creation of the World’s First Vertical City. A superstructure that 100 years from now people will point to and say “That changed everything!”

Humanity currently faces urgent and difficult challenges, including the perpetual decline of our arable land and natural resources, climate change, rapid population growth and environmental destruction. We also have more opportunity than ever to create a better world through technology and our increasing interconnectedness.’

While the idea of vertical cities is becoming ever popular, vertical farming is already a reality and is a step closer to our new high-rise urban dwellings.

Controlled farming has become popular with many horticulturists and entrepreneurs as the solution to the negative affects traditional farming can have on our environment. Whilst also supporting the increase in demand, as the population gets bigger and available farmland gets smaller.

According to Crops Review, vertical farming is so efficient that one vertical farm can be equivalent to 480 traditional horizontal farms, with many more benefits including a guaranteed harvest, organic crop production and a greater conservation of energy.

Vertical cities are closer than we think, yet before it can become a true phenomenon there are many hurdles to cross. New innovations are needed such as elevators that can go higher than the current 120 stories, health and safety that will surpass fire regulations and improved building structures that could withhold earthquakes and natural disasters.

However, many of the above are already in development and vertical cities seem to be front of mind for many big thinkers and pioneers.

If you liked this post, then why not read Back to the future: Construction in 2045