A Glimpse Into The Sustainable Megacities Of The Future

Megacities are generally defined as cities with a population greater than 10 million. With this strict definition, it is no surprise that there are only around 30 or 40 megacities across the world. Alongside this, ‘sustainability’ and ‘megacity’ are terms that are almost inherently at odds with one another.

By their very design, megacities rely on resources from other distant places, as they rarely possess their own agricultural infrastructure. Because of this, megacities are generally forced to bear the costs of travel carbon for all the fresh produce that line their supermarket aisles.

Sustainable Megacities Of The Future

In short, the way megacities have been designed and managed in the past is in need of some serious reform, with greater consideration towards the environment and greater investments in green infrastructure. Here’s how the globe’s megacities may be shaped by calls for sustainable growth in the not-so-distant future.

Streamlined waste management

With a population of 5 million, the city of Melbourne is poised to become a megacity in the next few decades. Civil engineers do have some concerns about the city’s ability to adapt to its forecasted growth, however. For instance, rubbish removal in Melbourne is already lagging behind when compared to other cities with similar populations. That being said, there are some other smaller ways in which Melbourne is also catching up – perhaps ready in time for when it’s projected to become a megacity in a few decade’s time.

Public waste bins in the Melbourne CBD are a type of smart bin that are solar-powered and are able to compact the rubbish much more effectively than standard bins. This results in fewer waste trucks travelling through the city less often, reducing their contribution to traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Going further, there are also emerging technologies that are able to use AI to recognise recycling and divert it away from landfill.

Melbourne’s comparatively higher than average population density is a factor to consider here as well, as the placement of bins and the routes of waste trucks are both likely to continue to be largely dictated by the flow of pedestrians through major throughways.

And what about the future of rubbish removal? Cities that are built with sustainability in mind would also be able to install waste bins with pneumatic pipes which transport rubbish directly to waste processing facilities. Given Melbourne’s grid-like layout and substantial underground system, it’s not unlikely that pneumatic pipes may become the veins of the city’s waste disposal system.

waste-management-sweden

Increased accessibility and diverse transport options

Any larger city centre will naturally discourage the use of cars, as congested streets are already a byproduct of higher population density. This is immediately a boon in terms of sustainability, as fewer cars on the road means less pollution. That being said, the city needs to have the alternative transport options and infrastructure in place to make up for these ‘lost’ roadways. This includes bike pathways, pedestrian access, and perhaps most importantly, a variety of interconnected public transport options.

Tokyo is the largest city in the world yet is also ranked as one of the most livable. In fact, Japan’s capital is the only megacity to consistently land on many livability ranking lists. Japan’s public transport networks are world class, famous for having regular services and for being consistently on time. With bullet trains that reach 320km/h, you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere they can’t take you. As a bonus, they’ve recently become more accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, as well as blind and deaf commuters too.

An abundance of green spaces

Green spaces are exactly what it says on the tin: areas of land that are predominantly covered by grass, trees or vegetation. Green spaces are vital in the development of any city but are of course, worth focusing on particularly when a city is developing into a megacity.

The presence of these spaces bring with them a whole slew of benefits. They have demonstrated that they are better for people’s mental health and also encourage a sense of social cohesion and community for people living in cities. The trees within these green spaces also do their part to mitigate urban pollution, and can even help keep cities cool during warmer weather.

trees-sustainability

The inclusion of green spaces into cities can also be more holistic – even if there isn’t space for a dedicated park, a tree-lined urban sprawl is far more appealing (and more accommodating towards urban wildlife) than an absolute lack of green.

A culture of urban agriculture

Finally, the perfect way to work against some of the extra reliance that megacities will naturally have on produce that is cultivated elsewhere, is for them to promote the development and upkeep of urban agriculture projects.

The space in any major city is limited, so rooftop farms are an excellent space-efficient step towards making megacities a little bit more self-sustaining. And like other green spaces, rooftop gardens and farms are also a great avenue towards promoting a sense of community within densely populated cities. Through novel processes such as hydroponics and aquaponics, rooftop farms can be sustainable without reliance on soil. They bring with them all the same benefits as green spaces with the added benefit of being a food source.

sustainable agriculture

Some urban citizens are going as far as building honey farms on their rooftops, providing their wider communities with organic and locally grown honey, as well as cultivating local bee populations that can also help to maintain a city’s green spaces with ease.

As the number of megacities across the world continues to increase year upon year, our ideas about how to marry sustainability with megacities must rapidly transition from being an impossibility into being a reality. The logistics surrounding the infrastructure that makes up megacities is something that needs to be carefully considered as these cities grow larger, and not after that growth has already occurred.

Whilst these small steps towards sustainability aren’t essential to growing that city’s economy alongside its population, taking these measures for ensuring sustainable growth can certainly contribute to that city’s livability rating across the long term.

I suppose this exploration of the future of megacities all boils down to one question: without educated sustainable growth strategies in place, why should a future filled with megacities be considered anything but aspirational?

15 Simple Ways You and Your Family Can Save the Planet

Life, the miracle of the universe, appeared about 4 billion years ago, and we, humans – only 200,000 years ago. But we have already succeeded in destroying the balance that is so important for the life on Earth. What do we actually know about life on Earth? The tenth part? Or maybe the hundredth? Earth is a real miracle. Life remains a mystery.

Trees grow towards the sun, which feeds their foliage. Animals are adapted to their pastures, and their pastures are adapted to them. As a result, everyone wins. Animals satisfy hunger, and plants flourish again. In this great life journey on Earth, each species has a particular function and takes a certain place. There are no useless creatures. They are all balanced.

And Homo sapiens – a man of sense – enters the arena of history. He received a fabulous inheritance that the Earth has carefully preserved for 4 billion years. He is only 200,000 years old, but he has already changed the face of the world. Despite his vulnerability, he captured all the habitats and conquered the territory like no other species before him. Today, life – our life – is only a link in the chain of countless lives following one another on Earth for 4 billion years.

For a long time, the relationship between people and the planet were fairly balanced and resembled a natural and equal union. Now, we rarely think about global issues, being lost in everyday concerns. Meanwhile, we are on the verge of a disaster. Thanks to the achievements of science and technology, people learned to satisfy their needs, but some inventions brought us much more harm than good. We are killing our planet gradually but purposefully.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

Only by changing your habits quite a bit, you and your loved ones can make the world cleaner and safer. These 15 simple tips do not require you either time or extra effort, but can make a difference in saving the world:

  1. Make the most of natural ambient light. Turn off the light in the room or the computer monitor when you do not need it. And do not forget about the chargers in the appliance receptacle!
  2. Teach yourself to turn off the water at a time when you do not need it – for example, while brushing your teeth or rubbing the pan with a detergent. On average, according to statistics, 5-10 liters of water (depending on pressure) flows out of the tap per minute. Also, reduce the time spent in the shower for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED lights: they save energy and last longer.
  4. Change to a bike. It is cool, fast, and comfortable. Having tried only once, you no longer want to get on the “hot bus” or spend time stuck in traffic jams. In addition, a bicycle is an excellent vehicle as it does not pollute the air with dangerous gases.
  5. Use phosphate-free detergents. On the Internet, there are many resources offering ecological household chemicals.
  6. Buy less plastic bags, go to the store with your eco-bag.
  7. Replace plastic with paper and glass. If you cannot do without disposable tableware – for example, when going on a picnic – use paper plates and cups rather than plastic ones.
  8. Choose cosmetics and chemicals especially carefully. You should give preference to products that have not been tested on animals and do not adversely affect the environment at different stages of production.
  9. Though it is as simple as ABC but very effective – try to bring plastic, glass, and paper for recycling.
  10. Bring batteries to special shops and institutions because this is a dangerous and very toxic type of waste.
  11. Refuse semi-finished products. Experts say that today, the manufacture of these products is fully controlled by monopoly companies that abuse antibiotics, overload the ecosystem, and apply the principles of intensive management for their own profit. Of course, in such conditions, quality suffers. Homemade food is much better. Do not know how to cook? A dating site may be helpful.
  12. Buy local food – the one that is made in your area. This food undergoes less chemical treatment which is sometimes used for long-term transportation.
  13. Use water filters. In this case, you do not need to spend money on bottled drinking water. Thus, you will not only save your family budget but also reduce the environmental impact caused by the production and transportation of plastic bottles.
  14. Plant flowers on window sills and trees in the courtyards. Do not let anyone cut down green spaces near your house.
  15. Support environmental organizations and encourage your family to do it.

“Orbiting Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”

– Yuri Gagarin