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:

• Electricity

• Telephone

• Mass transit

• Automobiles

• 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.

• See

• LEED applies to

• Building Design and Construction

• Interior Design and Construction

• Building Operations and Maintenance

• Neighborhood Development

• Homes

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

• See

• “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)

• See

• 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!