The world’s cities are becoming ever greener. Global warming and the need for a comfortable environment are pushing us to this. Modern progressive environmental projects are turning into local attractions and tourist attraction. Here are the signs of a city that cares about the future.

New life for old spaces

In order to preserve historical memory and minimize the harmful impact on the environment, objects that have served their purpose are not demolished, but rebuilt, adapting to the present. This is how abandoned industrial zones, railways, airfields and landfills get a new life. An example of this approach is the Heito landscape park in the Taiwanese city of Pingtung, which arose on the ruins of a sugar factory that has been operating here since 1909. At one time, the factory was a city-forming enterprise, so they decided not to demolish what was left of it, but to integrate it into new buildings, thus preserving an important chapter of local history. All ruins have been identified and restored. Underground tunnels turned into courtyards, sewage pools turned into gazebos, pavilions and children’s playgrounds… When planning the park, the designers adopted elements of the previous architecture. For example, they erected a roof on steel structures in the form of bamboo stalks – a reminder of the bamboo pavilion that stood here, in which the Japanese emperor Hirohito was received a century ago. So the former abandoned land turned into a landscape park and at the same time an open-air historical museum.

The most visited example of such a reformatting in the world is perhaps the High Line Park in Manhattan, opened in 2014. It was smashed on the site of an elevated railway, which was closed back in 1980 and was about to be dismantled before local residents convinced the authorities of the need to arrange a promenade instead of the viaduct. Now the 2 km 330 m long promenade, immersed in flowers, is visited by more people than any New York museum.

Urban farms and gardens

The green city seeks to provide itself with food. To do this, agriculture is being introduced into the urban space: animals and plants are grown on farms and in gardens within the metropolis. Among the advantages of this approach are energy savings that are spent on transporting products, and solving the problem of waste disposal: organic matter is processed into compost on site, and wastewater is used for irrigation. Since 2019, the Floating Farm has been operating in the Rotterdam Seaport – the world’s first waste-free floating farm. This is a three-story platform made of glass and steel: on the upper level there are cow stalls, on the middle level they make butter yogurts, on the lower level there is a cheese factory. The cows living here are on a special diet, which includes grain from the local brewery and grass from the stadium of the Feyenoord football club. This makes it possible to recycle waste and reduce the emissions that are generated in the production of commercial animal feed. The waste of the cows themselves also does not disappear: garden fertilizer in granules is made from manure, and urine is cleaned and processed into water, which these same cows are fed with. In the event of a flood, the farm is not in danger – it moves with the ebb and flow and can work at any water level. The necessary energy is obtained on site: dozens of solar panels are installed in the stall, which produce electricity. Products are sold in a store nearby, and they are also delivered by electric cars to restaurants in Rotterdam. The owners are going to build a second floating farm, only this time to grow vegetables, and export their idea – a similar project will soon be launched in Singapore.

London has its own city farm – a celebrity. This is the Growing Underground, a World War II bomb shelter converted into a greenhouse. Parsley and arugula, which are grown at a depth of 33 meters using hydroponics and LED lamps, are snapped up in London’s supermarkets.

Eco-friendly transport

The transport system in the green city is organized to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and give residents the freedom to use a variety of means of transportation. Infrastructure in these cities favors pedestrians, cyclists and those who prefer alternative energy vehicles powered by state-of-the-art innovative technologies over fossil-fueled vehicles of the past. In Las Vegas, the prototype of the Vegas Loop tunnel system received the first drivers and passengers. When completed, this network will link 56 km of underground roads to the main points of the city – the airport, the Raiders football stadium and numerous casinos. 57,000 citizens and tourists will move around the Vegas Loop on electric vehicles every hour. At the same time, for example, a trip from Las Vegas Airport to the Convention Center, 8 km long, will take no more than five minutes. In the future, the underground “loop” is planned to be extended from Vegas to Los Angeles.

In Moscow and other Russian cities, two new crossovers have appeared that have replenished the model range of Audi electric vehicles – the Audi e-tron S SUV and the Audi e-tron S Sportback.

Both machines are distinguished by visual elegance, impressive performance and advanced technological solutions. Each is equipped with three electric motors with a total capacity of 503 hp. with. and quattro electric all-wheel drive, which allows you to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 210 km/h. And the high-voltage battery that the cars are equipped with provides an impressive range without additional charging – up to 372 km for the Audi e-tron S and up to 378 km for the Audi e-tron S Sportback. The new models are equipped with sensors that “adapt” to individual driving style and help control the ride on almost any road surface and in any weather. The developers have also implemented a digital system in the new crossovers, which ensures absolute lighting accuracy thanks to the Digital Matrix LED headlights, consisting of many miniature pixels. In addition, each model is equipped with the Audi virtual cockpit plus and MMItouch response, which allows you to control the functions of the infotainment system, telephone, navigation system and special features of the e-tron. Another impressive feature of the new crossovers is virtual rear-view mirrors – that is, images displayed from external cameras on high-contrast OLED displays inside the cabin. And all these great features of the e-tron models – with zero CO2 emissions and exceptional noise isolation.

Green architecture

Facades and roofs covered with greenery help reduce air pollution and are pleasing to the eye. In addition, hanging gardens help solve the food problem – often plants are grown here that fall on the plates of citizens. The “Garden Hotel” Parkroyal Collection Pickering is one of the greenest buildings in Singapore, which is already not poor in vegetation. The building is surrounded by multi-level terraced gardens with an area of ​​15 thousand square meters. m, designed in such a way as to exist with a minimum of care: solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system provide light and irrigation. After the hotel opened in 2013, its creators, Singapore-based WOHA, collected a bunch of architectural awards, and Forbes magazine included the Parkroyal CollectionPickering in its list of “Hotels of the Future”.

The One River North residential tower in Denver is just under construction, due to be delivered only in 2023, but it has already made a lot of noise. The authors of the project, the famous Chinese MAD Architects, consider architecture to be a mediator between nature and man, and One River North was created in accordance with this concept. Ten of the 18 floors of the tower seem to be split from the facade, and lush greenery breaks through a deep crack. According to the architects, they peeped the idea from the nature of Colorado: the natural landscape is reflected in the man-made, the concrete forest of the building sprouts with canyons, streams and waterfalls.

Waste recycling

The green city recycles the garbage it produces on its own. At the same time, at least part of the waste goes to the production of recyclable materials or energy. Household waste is converted into electrical and thermal energy, wastewater into biogas.

Amager Bakke, aka CopenHill, is one of Copenhagen’s most spectacular attractions. A few years ago, this building, which connected the unconnected under one roof – an incineration plant and a ski resort, brought many architectural awards to its creators, the architectural bureau B.I.G. Amager Bakke is capable of processing 35 tons of waste per hour, freeing hundreds of thousands of citizens from garbage and giving them electricity and heating in return. At the same time, a recreation area with a year-round artificial ski slope 450 m long operates on the roof of the plant. Along the route with synthetic snow, where a glass elevator goes, allowing you to observe the process of waste processing along the way, hiking trails have been laid and coniferous trees have been planted. The façade is given over to “the highest artificial climbing wall in the world”, and at the base of the building there is an après ski area with a restaurant. B.I.G CEO Bjarke Ingels calls AmagerBakke an example of “hedonistic sustainability” in architecture, where the sustainability of the project does not come at the expense of aesthetics and practicality.

In Bergen, Sweden this year will complete the world’s largest automatic vacuum transport system for waste (Automated VacuumCollection, or AVAC), developed by Envac. On the ground, AVACs are futuristic-looking containers, and underground, they are an extensive network of sealed steel pipes. Several times a day, the waste is sucked like a vacuum cleaner into the sewer tunnel and taken to the collection station, where it is compacted and sealed in containers for further processing or incineration. No smell, no dirt, no rats. In Bergen, the length of the system will be 7.5 km, and 50 tons of garbage will be collected here per week.

Green building

Concrete and steel, which produce carbon emissions, are increasingly being replaced by alternative materials. And this is not only the usual stone and wood, but also straw, earth, hemp … In Hoi An, Vietnam, the Casamia community center, designed by the local architectural bureau VTN Architects, was opened last year. The fantastic bamboo building rests on a concrete plinth and consists of a total of 22 arches topped with a traditional Vietnamese thatched roof. The vaulted ceiling, reminiscent of Gothic interiors, reaches a height of 9 m. Despite the apparent fragility, the building is very durable: the place is windy, and the bamboo arches will have to withstand more than one storm. VTNArchitects, who have extensive experience with structures made from this material, are confident that Casamia will last for centuries. Unless the thatched roof will have to be refreshed.

Elite’s 20-story tower, The Wood Hotel, opened in Skellefteå, Sweden in October, one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world. The designers and architects who created the project did not go far for inspiration: idyllic Lapland landscapes, local forestry, Swedish design – everything is at hand in Skellefteå. The hotel was built from prefabricated 3D-modules from laminated timber. The tree not only ages beautifully – it also filters carbon dioxide. The façade was covered with transparent glass from the outside – it protects from the weather and keeps the rooms cool on hot days, thereby saving on heating and air conditioning.

Land saving

To preserve untouched nature, some areas of activity have to be taken underground. Now the transport infrastructure is actively moving there, but this may only be the beginning. Construction of the city of the future Neoma has begun in Saudi Arabia. The first cluster, which is planned to be populated as early as 2024, will be The Line, a quarter that will stretch 170 km from the Red Sea to the northwestern part of the country. It will be located on three levels: aboveground – for pedestrians and two underground – for transport and infrastructure. According to the developers, the linear form and the removal of infrastructure underground will help preserve 95% of the natural landscape.

Over time, the city-state of Neom, which will appear near the borders with Jordan and Egypt, should rid Saudi Arabia of dependence on oil and turn it into a technological power. The new metropolis is set to become the largest carbon-free system on the planet, fueled by wind turbines, solar panels and advanced systems that turn water into oxygen and hydrogen. True, problems arose during the first phase of construction, as engineers tried to design a city that lives off technologies that do not yet exist.