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China's "Super-Eco" Megacity

The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow overcome all the grave environmental challenges our own age and grown to become super-Green and super-sustainable. Today, we highlight the future of Shanghai.

The future scenario painted here as Shanghai 2121 takes into account this population pressure but proposes three other measures — a mixture of the social and the technological — to push Shanghai toward ecotopia by adopting a compact city design and by constructing of a network of piezoelectric pedestrian tubeways

China's super-eco Megacity


Shanghai's Compact City Design:

This urban design concept promotes high-density working and living arrangements within a layout that encourages both easy and efficient public transportation and the promotion of pedestrianism and urban cycling. In a compact city, every resident lives close enough to public and private amenities (schools, shops, clinics, entertainment centers, government offices, and so forth) so they need never think of using a private vehicle. This means also that the city of Shanghai in 2121 will be a low-cost, low-energy-consumption, and low-pollution type of city. And it will mean a very high degree of social interaction (resulting in more business opportunities for its citizens and also, probably, more security against crime, as there are always people around to observe and maintain safety). There will also be less urban sprawl, so that the surrounding countryside will remain intact and green spaces in the city will be preserved.

Shanghai's Piezoelectric Tubeways:

The piezoelectric pedestrian tubeways depicted for Shanghai 2121 will provide all-weather pedestrian transportation citywide. The surface of each tubeway will harness the pressure of step energy, converting it into productive electricity. Some of this electricity will be used to service the tubeways’ energy needs (for lighting, water pumping, waste disposal, etc.), but any surfeit will be credited to the energy account of the person doing the walking. Thus, you can pay for your own electricity bills just by walking around Shanghai, and the more you walk, the greater the credit you can earn. Indeed, professional walkers might earn a livable wage if they are allowed to swap their credits on a free market. A beneficial side effect will be to improve the health of the Shanghai populace, saving the government lots of money while improving the quality of life.

For a closer look at Shanghai 2121, see the Ecotopia 2121 book.

For a list of other case study cities from the Ecotopia 2121 project, check out the Ecotopia 2121 Atlas.


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