Ecotopia or Sprawling Nightmare? Four Scenarios for the Future of our Cities (video)

sprawlville megacities on the move animation image

Image credit: Forum for the Future

As New York's efforts to create a livable city show, we are already seeing far-reaching changes to how our cities are organized—and not before time. But there is still an awful lot more to do. Yesterday I wrote about a new report detailing how megacities must change in the face of a population explosion. My initial post focused primarily on the six principles outlined for creating more workable cities—but the report also offered up four scenarios for how our cities, and our lives, might actually look. And they've even created some animations to bring those visions (and nightmares!) to life.This wouldn't, of course, be the first time that think tanks have outlined visions for what our future might look like. But what sets the animations below apart, I think, is that none of them paint an overly rosy picture of the future. Even the apparent eco-topia that is renewa-bad clearly suffers from challenges such as high food prices—which is an all too realistic scenario given the pressure that climate change will place on our global farming and food distribution systems.

But high food prices are the least of the concerns in some of the other scenarios, so let's step into the future and take a look.


Megacities on the move - Renew-abad from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

"The world has turned to alternative energy and high-tech, clean, well-planned transport helps everyone get around."


Megacities on the move - Communi-city from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

"The world has turned to alternative energy, and transport is highly personalised with a huge variety of transport modes competing for road space."


Megacities on the move - Planned-opolis from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

"In a world of fossil fuels and expensive energy, the only solution is tightly planned and controlled urban transport."


Megacities on the move - Sprawl-ville from Forum for the Future on Vimeo.

"The city is dominated by fossil fuel-powered cars.The elite still gets around, but most urban dwellers face poor transport infrastructure."

Interesting stuff from Forum for the Future. Don't forget to check out the full Megacities on the Move report for details of the scenarios presented, and the principles, practices and technologies that might guide us more toward Renewa-bad, and away from Sprawlville. Assuming, of course, that that is the direction we want to go...

More on Sustainable Mobility and Livable Cities
How Cities Must Radically Change in Face of Population Growth
How NYC Became Walk, Bike and Transit Friendly (Video)
Worldchanging - 2003-2010
Volt, Schmolt; Get a Bike Instead
A North American Journalist Describes Cycling in Copenhagen
Parking Lots to Parks: Designing Livable Cities
Organizing Cities to Encourage Staying at Home

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