Monday, 14 February 2011

Cities of Future: creative adaptation for an urban species

By 2030, there will be more people living in urban than rural areas. This shift from rural to an urban majority represents a new phase in humans' relationship with the environment. In the next 20 years, Homo sapiens, “the wise human”, will become Homo sapiens urbanus in virtually all regions of the planet. What will this change mean for how natural resources are managed?

Will we all be living in mini apartments and eating produce grown in vertical farms, and how will everyone get along amidst increasing scarcity? All of these questions have been raised before, and what we are interested in is water.

(© Vincent Callebaut)[pixelab]

What is clear is that the coming urban renaissance will require new ideas about how water is managed. Already, cities are starting to re-evaluate how they use and plan for water use. From academics pondering theory to household systems designed to recycle grey water, there are a range of existing solutions to water shortage use and unnecessary pollution. As the global population booms and moves to cities, we are certain to see more innovation.

Already, countries in the Arabian Gulf are using large-scale desalinisation plants to extract water for their desert metropolises - this practice is already leading to hyper-salinity in the sea, with toxic impacts on sealife. As the unsustainable efforts in the Gulf demonstrate, the tightly packed urban world of the future our relationship with water will have to evolve.

When we run out of freshwater on land will be moving to the sea?

Gyre Seascraper © Zigloo

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