This isn't Your Parents' City of the Future

Planning for the challenges facing tomorrow's cities will require a "re-think" of the way we build as a species.
July 15, 2005, 7am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"The Next Cities...can grow, they can breath, and they can be ecologically sound, just as trees, forests, and gardens are. They can use energy, expel waste, and reproduce in ways that nature intended without destroying everything else around them.

"'In biology, growth is good. If we could do something where growth is good, that would be a way of thinking of a good operating system for design,' [William McDonough] says. The images he shows of what he plans look like gardens of Eden. 'We lay the city out so everyone can move in parks without crossing traffic, the buildings have daylight lighting, the university is at the centre, and with hi-tech connectivity.' The buildings and all around it work like biological, growing beings, photosynthesising and producing and re-using their own energy. Waste is energy in Mr McDonough's Next City vision; methane is used to cook food. A quarter of the city's cooking will be done with gas from sewerage.

"'The energy systems will be solar energy. China will be largest solar manufacturer in the world,'" says McDonough. To top the Next City in McDonough's thinking, the soil will be moved onto the roofs. The city will be inhabited by species and the top of the city will be green. His approach to city design may be the stuff of some people's eco-science fiction novel. But it shows that cities can change - humans can change the way they do things."

Thanks to Michael Dudley

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Published on Thursday, July 14, 2005 in BBC News
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