Cities like Songdo in South Korea are looking to technology to solve city problems. Here, in a city that has been built on reclaimed land near Seoul, rubbish is sucked directly from individual homes forgoing the need for rubbish bins and rubbish trucks that are also cluttering the streets.
In Japan, the Shimizu Corporation has sought to solve the problem of rising land prices, overcrowding and the potential rising of the world’s oceans by planning an underwater city. The Ocean Spiral imagines 5000 people living in a sealed transparent ball that sits on the ocean surface to allow in sunlight but spirals half a kilometre towards the sea floor.
Less futuristic but equally socially progressive is a city like Singapore that has 80 per cent of residents in public housing and very few with cars, given that the city makes you pay heavily, up to $100,000, for the social cost of owning a vehicle.
All of these projects are trying to work out what a future city looks like, and population growth is a key concern. Almost 50 per cent of the world’s population currently lives in cities, and by 2050 that is expected to rise to 75 per cent.