Cities 2100 - Dawson College Bound


What would the city of 2100 look like?

Dave James, PhD PE

Brook Demitropoulos, PE

Alan Riekki, PLS

First, let’s think back 86 years, to 1928

We had many features of modern cities. Things that were fairly common:



Mass transit


Carriage of sewerage away from cities

Piped drinking water (usually filtered or chlorinated in most big

US and west European cities)

Skyscrapers (pushing past 50 stories)

High speed intercity transit via rail

– rail was the dominant mode for moving passengers

Radio communications

Rapid market transactions via teletype and telephone

Some images, Cities of 1928

Los Angeles City Hall s/2008/07/31/spring_st_1st_1928_city_hall.jpg

New York downtown


Plan for Austin, Tx, 1928 – no freeways! – no airport! – unthinkable today mn-display/acityplan.jpg

City image – 1945 – Pittsburgh steel mill


This was a common sight in North America and Europe and Asia through 1960’s – symbolized economic progress and growth

How do you view this image today? What were the consequences of production without a thought to environment and health?

Things that were just starting to develop

Air travel – still risky and slow

Modern intercity highways

Air conditioning

Treatment of sewage

Air pollution control

Lightweight high-strength metal alloys (e.g. aluminum)

Flood control

Mechanized agriculture

Modern rocketry ( Goddard’s first experiments with liquid fueled rockets)

Automated electromechanical controls and “servos”

Things common today that were absent in


Television (first experimental systems were being tested)

Satellite communications

Voice communications anywhere in world

Electronic computers (there were some mechanical adding/sorting machines)

The suburb

Industrial robots

Landfills that isolated wastes

Convenience foods / fast food restaurants

Container shipping

Modern antibiotics

Modern medical diagnostic imaging procedures

Organic chemistry-based pesticides and herbicides

Soil conservation

Higher education for anyone seeking it

The supermarket!

The refrigerator (people used ice boxes)

In summary, compared to today

The North American city of 1928 was

Dirtier and smellier

Less convenient to live in

More dependent on nearby resources

Slower to reach from another city

More crowded (fewer single family residences)

Had some suburbs (thanks to rail)

Didn’t have freeways surrounding or bisecting the urban areas – but had crowded streets

The North American city of 2014

Has cleaner air and water

A plethora of resources for obtaining material goods

Has goods and commerce from all over the world

Can be reached from anywhere in the globe in 24 hours or less

Is often ringed by suburbs with fewer city residents

Still has bad traffic! – more so on the approaches and departures to the urban area

So, how to project 86 years in the future?

Some emerging trends:

Re-urbanization – recolonizing urban areas and building new creative and convenient communities

Examples – Berlin, London, San


High speed high bandwidth communication - less need to travel to stay in contact or community

Wearable tech – the supercomputer on your wrist

“Locavore” food production and green roofs

Nonrenewable energy costs rising – transition to renewables – carbon neutrality! (Dockside Green)

Smart, self-driving cars – personalized efficient mass transit

Big data and Fast data (Microsoft city)

Instant language translation

3D printing/additive manufacturing

Adaptation to global warming and rising sea levels

11 billion people on the planet?

Some links you can follow for more information

Microsoft campus – 88 acre smart city – using “internet of things”

City of 2057 - a speculative docudrama

Five Green cities of the future –

Microsoft campus – looking west to Seattle downtown – doesn’t look that different

But it’s the connections, the data, and the use of the data that are different!

Or maybe it will look a lot different! – See

Dockside Green – planned to become North America’s first carbon-neutral city

Sustainability – driven by need to slow or reverse climate change and contain its impacts

Continue to implement the good

LEED certification for buildings

ENVISION certification for infrastructure

Shift to renewable energy resources

Disseminate medical advances

Improve education for all

Reduce per capita impact on the planet at a rate faster than the population rise

Avert harm caused by the bad

Rising sea levels – protect coastal cities and lands

Increasing global temperatures

Shifts in rainfall distribution

Continued migration to cities to seek a better life

Increased risk of new disease outbreaks

LEED resources

LEED means – “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”

US Green Building Council link:

Example news item – Target stores obtained LEED certification for all 124 store locations that opened in Canada in 2013.


LEED applies to

Building Design and Construction

Interior Design and Construction

Building Operations and Maintenance

Neighborhood Development


Average savings of a Green building

Examples of Green buildings

UNLV SEB building

LEED silver

Arizona State Univ Tempe campus


But what about the Infrastructure? ENVISION

American Society of Civil Engineers developed a Sustainable

Infrastructure Rating System


“The Envision™ rating system is a project assessment and guidance tool for sustainable infrastructure design. It is an objective framework of criteria and performance achievements that helps users identify ways in which sustainable approaches can be used to plan, design, construct, and operate infrastructure projects . Envision™ provides an opportunity for infrastructure owners and designers to be recognized for using a life cycle approach, working with communities, and using a restorative approach to infrastructure projects.

The key aspects are Life Cycle Approach and Working with Communities

Another resource for learning more

Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure – (ISI)


Has many educational resources

What would a sustainable infrastructure project look like? W J

Hernandez sport fish hatchery – Anchorage, AK

Outside – See: ortStockingHatcheries.williamjackhernandez



Categories for rating infrastructure projects using Envision.

Many cities in 2100 will be hotter, drier, and more crowded

To make the planet sustainable we must improve both

Physical infrastructure,

Schools, hospitals, housing, transportation, green spaces, food and water distribution

And social infrastructure!

Investment in good working conditions and sustainable, challenging work

Balanced economies – globally equitable balance of trade

We could build great, sustainable cities, but without educated and caring population, they’ll be quickly ruined!

We can make our planet

More humane, more habitable, more just, or

More violent, less safe, and more arbitrary


To do the former, requires an integrated approach to development

Social systems

Economic systems

Engineered systems

To do the latter, we can keep on the same course as now; lack of corporate and individual responsibility, “me first at all costs”, and have social systems based on punishment and fear


Are any of today’s cities physically showing signs of the future, already?

Yes, for the good

Bike/pedestrian friendly zoning with access to mass transit – eg

Amsterdam, Berlin

Green roofs – in Washington DC

Adding renewable supplies – e.g.

Boston, for Wind turbines

Carbon neutral planning

Yes, for the bad

Netherlands & Venice – building barriers for sea level rise, also New

Jersey and New York shorelines

Las Vegas – 3 rd straw to Lake Mead

San Diego, desalination facilities

More prisons, more walls, more camps, to contain and detain migrants seeking a better life

How about social infrastructure?

For the good:

Many far-sighted visionaries investing in improved education and health care

Scandanavian countries, in particular, are conducting all planning and construction with sustainability in mind

And have invested heavily in education and social services

High Taxes, but high level of services and high quality of life

For the bad:

USA has highest incarceration rate in the developed world

Reactionary political forces deny scientific evidence and promote a culture of fear and denial

Wars for resources starting – pushback against Chinese & American monopolization of fossil resources

Water disputes

Europe/Ukraine/Russia – GazProm

Mass migration/refugees –from wars and poverty!

Class participation Question: Does SimCity 4 let you set social priorities?

What kind? (go to workstations monitors and look at menus)

Let’s make a list! (need a scribe)

Class participation question #2 - Does SimCity

4 reward the “right” choices?

Examples you found:

Are there powerful interests resisting change?

Yes, for example,

King Coal- denying climate change, resisting environmental controls

Oil and gas – slowing renewables development

Market-driven forces and national attitudes – China/India consuming more coal, oil and gas than the West can conserve

Western companies “offshoring” factory production at the cost of environmental and occupational safety in developing countries (note, a

“reshoring” effort is starting)

Ourselves – choosing convenience and safety over environmental responsibility

Bigger houses than we need

Big SUVs to be safe in a crash and have lots of amenities

Driving instead of walking or biking because Las Vegas is too hot and perceived to be too unsafe

Buying unsustainable or unjust products because they are cheap and attractive

Using religion, tradition, patriotism as excuses for maintaining ignorance and supporting the use of violence and abuse for control

A sustainable planet in 2100, or one on the way to that

Will have to have made some changes NOW

More investments in social infrastructure – schools, medical care, social support

More investments in economic infrastructure, other than gambling!

Greater emphasis on sustainablyproduced products and services for export, that . (see


More investment in sustainable physical infrastructure that (see


Uses fewer resources in the life cycle of construction, use, demolition

Uses more renewable energy and

Uses less energy per person and

Redefines how we can live safe, happy, and productive lives in community with each other

How to do this?

Think BIG! – understand your part in an expansive vision of attaining a sustainable community

Think TEAM! – many areas of expertise are needed to bring this about, (planners, engineers and architects, yes) but also teachers, negotiators, medical workers, planners, industrialists, and all skilled trades

Think INTEGRATED – look at all the components affected by the decision or the system that you build

Think SOON! –

Climate change is past the tipping point

Water, energy, land, and food more scarce and more expensive

What appear to be wars for territory often have resources at their base

China in the western Pacific and south china Sea – oil and gas

Russia in Ukraine – gas pipelines

ISIS – already destabilizing world oil prices

Think of integrated life-cycle costs

Example – compare renewable to non-renewable energy to power a city or a nation. Compare ALL the costs

Non-renewables may be cheaper per joule, but what are the social, environmental and health costs not included in the price?

Cost of guarding the oil wells – born by taxpayers

Cost of cleaning up the mess – (or not cleaning it at all and damaging health and wild lands or agricultural lands)

Cost of degradation of occupational and public health - born by taxpayers

Cost to continue to upgrade infrastructure to deal with climate change effects? – born by taxpayers

Note, renewables are not risk-free or cost-free or impact-free

Still have to mine the components - there will be some environmental degradation at the mines and the generating sites – but is it worse or better than nonrenewable extraction?

Are the public health costs lower or higher if the air is cleaner?

Security impacts. For example, If I generate energy locally, do I need as big a tanker fleet and as big a navy to guard the tankers?

Will I need to build the seawalls as high and as fast if climate change is slowed or reversed?

The power to invent a safe, sustainable and humane urban society is in your hands!

Both now, in Cities2100, and in SimCity, and in the near-future as you decide on careers and enter the workforce!

Thank you!