More In This Article
Communication is at the heart of the future. A future city would need to respond to people on a personal level. Our cell phones can become devices that are able to open the door to our home, pay for our bus and subway charges, make purchases at any store with a tap and a password, and give us unfettered access to the Internet.
Long Beach, Calif.
Wires of Light
It’s time for cities to bring fast, reliable fiber-optic broadband to every home and business. When people gave up the old phone modem for the cable modem, that spurred a revolution in our economy and even in the way we interact with one another. The much greater speeds enabled by fiber will do even more. They will create a platform for new innovations and allow urban residents to invent things we can’t even imagine today. Fiber-optic broadband is a missing piece in creating a more livable and prosperous city in the 21st century.
mayor of Seattle
It would make cities across the globe more livable if the windowpanes of city buildings were replaced with transparent and semitransparent solar panels, which have been (at least crudely) in existence for a number of years. The energy generated from this could then be directed around the city, reducing energy costs and the need to burn coal and thus carbon dioxide emissions.
The power could also be used for public transport, making such transport and the expansion of transport networks much cheaper. Cheap, accessible and expansive public transport would greatly reduce the need for motor vehicle traffic, while also reducing CO2 emissions.
—Holly Uber, political activist and historian,
Lockdown for Gridlock
You could collect data from different kinds of sensors—cell-phone signals, surveillance signals, car-mounted [radio-frequency identification] tags, and so on and then create some algorithms to change traffic-light timing to prevent gridlock, help buses move more efficiently and let people know where to park their cars.
—Charles D. Linn,
writer, editor and architect
All landscaping in the front yard of homes and apartments should be limited to either the growing of edible crops or the growing of native species to the area.
—Blaine M. Osborne,
Salt Lake City
A Game Plan
Where we place our infrastructure—the housing, roads, water systems, parks and other components that make up a city—has a huge impact on livability. By being more strategic about these important investments, we can deliver a cleaner, healthier environment, more walkable neighborhoods and other important benefits—all for less cost to taxpayers.
—Lisa P. Jackson,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator
iCities in the Desert
The city should be designed and built with a specific maximum number of people in mind, large enough to accept expected population growth for 100 years. It would be difficult to retrofit current cities, so this should be applied to the concept cities eventually built in the desert by Apple, Microsoft or another large company.
In the developing world a billion people live in urban slums, with another billion expected in the coming decades. Their most urgent need is sanitation—water that is free of communicable diseases—and a clean, private place to urinate and defecate. Accordingly, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invited 22 institutions (from Caltech to universities in Brazil and South Africa) to “reinvent the toilet.”
—Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and co-founder of the Long Now Foundation and Global Business Network