With the tons of carbon emissions we produce each year, it would only be naive to believe our current state is “fine”. In fact, even though most of us are habituated to think about change and to be ready to bring productivity to new opportunities. The truth is, society is only beginning to grasp the consequences of the worldwide industrializing world and it's dirty energy supply.
In response, some cities are starting to develop ambitious long-term plans, that call for, among other things, the establishment of one zero-carbon community, that will slowly shift us away from fossil fuels.
The cities’ increased influence over their own energy investments is important because most citizens in the world’s industrial economies, now live in urban societies.
In today's world, technological developments can make it more economic for cities to invest in often small-scale resources (rather than depending on the old model of importing electricity from large and remote plants) within or near their own urban economies.
In short, the idea of cities becoming crucial as energy producers as well as consumers is super interesting. Think of Jane Jacobs' assertion that cities thrive when they begin to produce their own goods, rather than importing them. Perhaps the next stage for modern cities that we want to endure is to bring energy production in-house.
A few examples on how to revolutionize the way we live:
Future London City: A prototype, called Gallions Park, is planned to become a three-acre area on the Royal Albert Dock. This will be a sustainable community with at least 200 residential units. What makes this site important for other cities attempting to shrink their carbon footprint is that the dock area is land that was previously used by industry.
Many upcoming eco-cities are being built on virgin land; success at Gallions Park would open other abandoned industrial sites to similar development possibilities.
While the Gallions Park development includes several earth-friendly features, such as community greenhouses, a key element of the zero-carbon strategy will be a combined heat and power (CHP) plant to generate electricity and provide hot water. The CHP plant will use biomass, such as wood, for fuel. The community’s buildings will also create renewable energy through roof-mounted wind turbines and photovoltaic panels that convert light into electricity.
Furthermore we will have cities within buildings like the Crystal Island in Moscow and the Shimizu Pyramid in Tokyo. Essentially these buildings are mini-cities within superstructures that take care of every need and will house from 100,000 to 750,000 people. These mega-structures, also known as arcologies, will be designed with self-sufficiency in mind. This means that it’ll produce all its own food, energy, and will be able to recycle or safely dispose of all its own waste. Considering how many residential units one of these superstructures may have, it will certainly keep property inspectors busy.
Another option may be, "seasteading." This makes it possible for people to live on the high seas.