Could we all end up living in smart cities?

4 years ago
3 minutes

From a smart forest in Mexico to a futuristic city powered by blockchain, smart cities are being proposed on an increasing basis — with the vast majority of them in North America. 

As established cities become more crowded and unable to easily implement new technology and transport options, we may well have to look to the building of new cities that have the capabilities to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the smart cities being proposed. 

Innovation Park 

Having made a fortune on selling cryptocurrency, Billionaire Jeffrey Berns has purchased a large plot of land in the Nevada desert with the aim of turning it into a smart city powered by blockchain technology.

credit: Tom Wiscombe Architecture

Blockchain offers greater privacy and data control by keeping a set of digital records that track transactions chronologically and publicly but cannot be modified. This concept is intended to be implemented with Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture providing the design of the buildings. 

Under the scheme, occupants of Innovation Park would be able to bank, vote and store data in the blockchain, without including middlemen or the government.

Smart Forest City 

Based in Cancun, Mexico, Stefano Boeri recently unveiled a plan to convert a plot of land into a set of futuristic builds covered in 7.5 million plants.

credit: Stefano Boeri Architetti

This self-sustainable city would convert carbon dioxide into oxygen while collecting data to improve the habitation of its residents.

The Smart Forest City is part of Boeri’s larger concept which will see a number of cities made of up plant-covered skyscrapers rolled out across China.

The project will not only aim to alleviate the world’s rising climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and animal extinction, but to be a pioneer in future eco-efficient developments.

Sidewalk Toronto 

Sidewalk Lab, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is planning to build a high-tech smart city on Toronto's waterfront.

credit: Archdaily

Similar to Boeri’s Smart Forest, residents’ information will only be used to improve the precinct and will not be shared with Alphabet companies, including Google.

It’s also set to be sustainable, with neighbourhoods entirely built from timber. A new concept named ‘Building Raincoats’ will also be implemented, where protection to pavements will be built-in to protect from the harsh weather.

Other features may include wider sidewalks, wayfinding beacons (GPS system for indoors) and heated pavements.


Bill Gates, of course, is the renowned owner of Microsoft, but did you know he has reportedly taken a stake in the smart city development scheme?

credit: Dezeen

In 2017, it was rumoured that a company with ties to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation bought a huge patch of land west of Phoenix, Arizona, with the intention of transforming it into a futuristic city with high-speed internet, connected infrastructure and driverless cars.

Union Point

Aiming to be built on a former navy yard, Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects and Sasaki Associates have master-planned a futuristic city on the site 12 miles south of Boston.

credit: Elkus Manfredi Architects

Smart systems responsible for collecting data for the improvement of the city will be implemented, while sustainability will be a key aspect of the site. Autonomous vehicles and plenty of greenery will be the hallmark of this new development. 

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