How Will 3D Printing Change the World's Cities?

Shrinking ports, less noxious trucks on our roads, and more self-sufficient towns. Neal Peirce describes the changes that 3D printing may bring to our lives. Will it be comparable to "the steam engine, the light bulb, atomic energy, the microchip?"
Creative Tools / Flickr

Peirce argues that a future replete with three dimensional printing, where goods can be designed and manufactured individually, could echo "village life in the pre-industrial era, when blacksmiths or seamstresses or carpenters created much of what was needed locally and towns were far more self-sufficient."

The promise of this technology, he says, "could change the future of the world’s cities, perhaps dramatically."

"This could spell big cutbacks in massive container ships and their ports, together with fuel-guzzling truck rigs crisscrossing continents. The United States’ heavy reliance on overseas manufacturing, especially from China, could be cut back dramatically. The carbon footprint of today’s manufacturing and transport could be reduced substantially. 3D involves dramatically reduced waste and use of toxic materials in manufacturing and can ease the demand for such nonrenewable resources as rare earth minerals."

"[T]here’s rarely been a disruptive technology with such positive implications for the welfare and progress of the cities and surrounding regions destined to be mankind’s home through this century and beyond."

Full Story: More Self-Sufficient Cities in a 3D Printing World

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95