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Is this the city of the future?

Illustration for article titled Is this the city of the future?

A century ago, we imagined futuristic cities full of hulking, steel buildings, their towers surrounded by a lace of elevated roads. But today, the future of architecture is biology. Synthetic biology architects and designers imagine cities that are made from bioengineered materials, fed by energy from sunlight. These cities sometimes look more like forests than metropolises. Here are a few visions of the living cities of tomorrow.

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Above, you can see vision of a biological city, from Bakenius on Deviant Art.

Click any image to enlarge or to see the whole thing.

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This is concept art of future Chicago, designed by MWDC

Illustration for article titled Is this the city of the future?

Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright toyed with the idea of a "living city" which would be a perfect balance of urban modernism and natural beauty. Here is one of his sketches of such a city from the 1950s.

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ARUP's "building of the future" will be half-biological, half-traditional building materials.

Illustration for article titled Is this the city of the future?
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A futuristic eco city from Olga Idealist on Deviant Art.

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In this image called "The Advent of Yellowstone," the artist imagines a city in Yellowstone Park, "when humans develop eco-friendly technology to develop cities without harming the environment." The Swordsman77 on Deviant Art

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In this concept design of an "Urban Tree" skyscraper, the architecture firm Geotectura imagines solar array-overed rooms "sprouting" from stems, surrounded by greenhouses.

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MVRDV designed this self-sufficient city for 77,000 people, to be built in South Korea. Every building would be packed with greenhouses, and designed to look like rolling hills.

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The Guardian made fun of Gary Neville's "eco bunker" home, comparing it to a Tellytubby house. But cities of the future may look like this, with houses that blend into the natural landscape.

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This city by J. Humphries on Deviant Art is made out of reclaimed space ship parts that have been turned into tree houses on an alien world. Just because we go to other plants doesn't mean we should stop using recycled materials.

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

I'm skeptical because it cost a lot of money and time to completely replace infrastructure with something completely new. I don't think you can just walk into Osaka, LA or St. Petersburg and suddenly replace it all cleanly with the buildings depicted here.

I suppose, building, by building, street by street, slowly over time, we can install vertical farms and energy efficient buildings that might be, perhaps, grown from something like Niven's gene-tweaked architectural coral. But it's going to be a messy hodgepodge of old industrial tech versus new biotech for a long time.

If you want to see what cities of the future will look like take a look at the cities growing in the developing world. The infrastructure isn't as built up there and we have a free hand to build something new entirely from scratch. It's cheaper.