Stackable housing pods, underwater cities, printed houses: Looking ahead at the city of the future

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It may look like the stuff of sci-fi movies but this visualization is not a still from the latest Star Wars production. This is what top architects and engineers are predicting our world will look like a century from now.

(June 1, 2015) — Looking out across the city and atop the skyscrapers before you are cows. Yes, you read that right. Farm animals contentedly grazing on high-rise urban farms litter the London skyline.

Elsewhere, off the coast of mainland England, against the backdrop of the stunning White Cliffs of Dover, an intricate pod structure forms part of a floating city.

This is how we will live 100 years from now — if a panel of UK experts is to be believed.

Temporary stackable housing pods, underwater cities and 3D-printed houses bought “off the shelf” will also help alleviate the burden of overpopulation and inner city living-space shortages.

Buildings with their own microclimates and cities built in the skies are also among the amazing feats of future engineering predicted by the panel, which includes Rhys Morgan, director of engineering and education at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, award-winning architects Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, and urbanist Linda Aitken.

But not only will tomorrow’s architects continue to advance towards the clouds, building higher and higher, as engineering advances allow, but we’ll also be headed deep below ground. The panel suggested future cities will feature incredible multi-level basement structures — already beginning to make an impact in high-density areas like London — which will help ease a lack of urban space above ground.

And while their predictions may seem a little outrageous, engineering brilliance often comes from thinking out of the box, as one panelist explained.

“There is rarely a ‘eureka’ moment,” said Morgan. “As such, engineering feats which are currently out of reach require time for the pieces to fit together and the minds responsible for developing the ideas to work through all the wrong avenues before achieving what is currently impossible.

“Breakthroughs in engineering work in the same way as breakthroughs in literature, music and lifestyle — an accumulation of different discoveries (or influences) is required to create the final catalyst for a new discovery.”

Meanwhile, commutes of the future will feature epic city-spanning bridges, according to the panel. Want to nip over to Mars quickly? No problem — the experts are predicting spaceports will become commonplace, so future generations will be able to head over to their local station and hitch the next ride.

The predictions — heavily focused on water-based architecture and reflective of contemporary issues such as overpopulation, global warming and rising sea levels — were compiled to mark the launch of “Impossible Engineering,” a new TV show on UK channel Yesterday.

Using the outlandish future tech predictions, 2,000 people were then polled to see which of the suggestions they thought — and hoped — would become a reality by 2115.

Topping the survey was super-deep basement complexes complete with hotels, restaurants, submerged gardens and green space, swimming pools and gyms.

The poll also found that one in three respondents considered floating sea cities — which could use solar and tidal energy — as a viable option for future development.

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