Could Utopian Telosa Be the Future of Cities?

 by Laura Agadoni

Real estate has long been the go-to investment for those looking to build long-term wealth for generations.

If you find yourself imagining what it would be like to build a city, you might play SimCity or other video games like it. But if you’re a billionaire, you don’t have to just pretend; you could actually do it.

In fact, the new thing for the modern-day titans of industry seems to be city planning — Bill Gates plans to build a 24,000-acre smart city in a remote part of Arizona, and Jeffrey Berns, a cryptocurrency millionaire, is planning a city on 67,000 acres in the Nevada desert.

The latest announcement comes from billionaire Marc Lore, former Walmart CEO and creator of Jet.com, (the sale of which made him a billionaire). Lore is planning a city of his own, likely in another desert locale, or in Lore’s words, a place “where the land [is] worth nothing, or very little.”

Besides building a futuristic city, Lore’s other plans to keep him busy after his Walmart retirement include advising start-ups and working on a reality TV show.

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Iteris develops a new AI sensor system for smart cities and traffic management

Recently, Iteris announced the development of a new AI-powered sensor system that can detect, monitor, and manage traffic. What challenges do growing cities face, what does the system provided by Iteris offer, and what problems can integrated smart systems face?

 By Robin Mitchell

What challenges do growing cities face?

As the world population grows, so does the demand for transportation services, whether it be increased use in buses, taxis, or privately owned vehicles. While the current climate crisis is changing how vehicles are made and what sources of energy they use, it has little impact on the increasing number of vehicles. Using public transport may be better for the environment, but poor availability and inconvenience leads many to privately own vehicles.

Most roads around the world were laid during a time of significantly fewer vehicles, and these roads may have been designed with a few decades of vehicle growth in mind. If the demand on a road increases to the point where traffic starts to build up, it is often impossible to widen the road and add lanes as roads often have buildings on either side.

This leads us to a new challenge where modern road networks are quickly becoming congested. Congested traffic is not only bad for waiting times, but it also results in increased emissions from vehicles and can increase the chances of collisions and accidents.

For traffic management to improve, smart cities will need to be introduced, which involve the placement of sensors and smart technologies that allow computers to take over control in real-time. Simply put, a smart city would recognise key areas of congestion and then redirect traffic to improve safety while reducing waiting times. Furthermore, a smart city would be able to more efficiently control signals at traffic lights to prevent severe congestion forming while making better decisions on when to let pedestrian’s crossroads.

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NEOM is on track to be the world’s first “sustainable” city. Here’s what we know.

By Tim Wenger

For followers of tech blogs, sustainable design, and futuristic thinking, the term “NEOM” and “The Line” are by now familiar. Outside those circles, NEOM is not yet a household name. The term signifies a new, futuristic plan for a city, built to the highest standards of sustainability and convenience. It’s forward-thinking, controversial, and in the broad history of cities, is far beyond the scope of anything that has been done before.

NEOM, an acronym for “new future,” is garnering increased publicity due to its concept as the ultimate “smart city.” But if you’re like most of us, even if you’ve heard the term, you may not fully grasp what NEOM is all about. Let’s cover the basics of what NEOM is, where NEOM is, and when NEOM will be complete.

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Toyota Plans to Test Hydrogen-Based Transportation in Fukushima Futuristic City

By Otilia Drăgan

Toyota is taking another important step that contributes to Japan’s overall goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. After successfully initiating the Woven City project earlier this year, the company is now discussing with several partners the opening of a hydrogen-based city in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Sustainability is the word on everybody’s lips these days, but not too many can dream of a sustainable city prototype and actually bring it to life. This future society would be centered around hydrogen, another power-word in today’s automotive industry. The hydrogen will be locally produced and then used for clean transportation. These are the plans for Toyota’s next pioneering, sustainable city.

Toyota partnered with Isuzu and Hino to build a hydrogen-based city in the Fukushima Prefecture, with which they are currently discussing the future project. The prefecture will be the energy supplier, by producing hydrogen at several local sites, including the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R).

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Seoul to expand network of poles to charge vehicles and drones

By Christopher Carey

Analysis of the project in the Seongdong district showed savings of 12-21 percent. 

Seoul is set to expand its network of smart poles (S-poles) – which act as streetlights, traffic lights, environmental sensors, footfall counters, smartphone chargers, Wi-Fi access points and CCTV points – from 26 to 216 by the end of the year.

The poles, launched in February, will also have the potential to charge drones and electric vehicles as part of a pilot project set to be launched in the second half of this year.

“S-poles are the core infrastructure of a smart city, which can reduce the cost while improving the scenery, safety, and convenience,” said Lee Won-Mok, Director General of Seoul’s Smart City Policy.

“We will work on developing newly-demanded features for smart cities from electric car charging to drone-related technologies to create smarter urban infrastructures.”

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Toyota’s Futuristic Woven City Will Be Powered by Hydrogen

By Cristina Mircea

The fact that Toyota started to build its own 175-acre city of the future it’s already yesterday’s news. It is happening and it’s going to be a society of the future, fully automated, sustainable and interconnected using AI technology. But what we didn’t know up until now was how they’re planning to power the entire ecosystem. Turns out they’re going to use hydrogen energy.

Woven Planet, a subsidiary of Toyota, which is responsible for the prototype city, recently announced in a press release (you can peruse it in its dedicated section below the article) that it partnered with ENEOS, a major Japanese player in the hydrogen business. The goal is to create a hydrogen-based society and to become carbon-neutral at the same time, by 2050, according to their estimates.

Toyota and ENEOS are going to test the hydrogen-based supply chain in and around Woven City, from the production phase to delivery and usage. The Japanese carmaker sees hydrogen as one of the cleanest energy sources available and tries to explore and implement the hydrogen and fuel cell technology as much as it can. 

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Seoul’s Smart Traffic Lights Will Charge EVs and Drones

Seoul’s S-Poles

By  Chris Young

The multipurpose S-Poles can also function as Wi-Fi access points.

A smaller, more versatile version of the utility pole might soon become ubiquitous throughout future smart cities worldwide. 

Amongst the implementors of such a technology is Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), which announced last year that it would install new ‘smart poles’, or S-Poles, that act as streetlights, traffic lights, environmental sensors, smartphone chargers, Wi-Fi access points, CCTV, and more.

As a Cities Today report explains, the city of Seoul, South Korea, has already installed twenty-six smart poles in six areas of the city. Each pole’s function is customized to the requirements of its specific location.

SMG is piloting a version of the S-Pole system, which is also able to charge drones and electric vehicles as well as count the footfall of nearby pedestrians.

The project, which is in the planning stage, would use drones to monitor potential disasters and provide data for emergency rescue teams.

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Nobody Is Going to Conventions. Convention Centers Are Growing

Indianapolis’s convention center hosted the National Rifle Association convention last year, just one of the many events that didn’t go off as usual in 2020.

By Mary Williams Walsh

The pandemic is intensifying the competition among cities, which are rushing to build bigger, more alluring event spaces.

After 20 years of trying, Indianapolis finally landed the American Dental Association convention. Last December, the group agreed to gather there in 2026, promising Indianapolis tens of thousands of visitors and tens of millions of dollars for the local economy.

But there’s a catch: The dentists can back out if the convention center complex does not complete a $550 million expansion: 143,500 square feet of new event and ballroom space as well as two privately financed hotels.

That helps explain why, in the depths of a pandemic that has left many convention centers empty or repurposed into field hospitals or homeless shelters, a 25-member board in Indianapolis voted unanimously in September to add up to $155 million to the public debt.

“We see convention tourism racing back in 2023,” said Chris Gahl, senior vice president of Visit Indy, the nonprofit that markets the Indiana Convention Center and attractions like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “When the green flag drops, we’re going to be on the competitive edge.”

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Future Cities: From Le Corbusier’s Radiant City to the Dutch “Breathing City 2050”

By Scarlett Miao

Throughout history, religious reformers and visionary starchitects have attempted to envision the future of our cities: from the Venetian model city of Palmanova to the multi-story housing complex for 5,000 people drafted by Italian architect Paolo Soleri, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City to Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, numerous masterplans have been crafted to illustrate some of the most unprecedented ambitions.

Today, people have never stopped investigating new approaches to urban planning that may enable a smooth transition towards a future green economy. In 2018, Dutch governments and knowledge institutions initiated the “2050 City of the Future” design study, with an aim to research how future cities should react to major challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural resource depletion, and pollution. During this time of collaboration, VenhoevenCS, the leading architectural firm in the team, has conducted substantial conceptual research and provided plenty of expertise in sustainable master planning.

This article will look into several case studies that have been carried out by VenhoevenCS, and compare them with visions outlined by Le Corbusier in Radiant City. We will revisit the past issues and see if we have solved them in contemporary environments. Meanwhile, we will also discuss whether or not Corbusier’s design principles are still applicable, as we have entered the future that he once imagined.

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Top Global Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia Launches Car-free City

By AFP News  

Top-oil-exporter-Saudi-Arabia-launches-car-free-city
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on March 19, 2020 in the capital Riyadh shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who will chair the G7 meeting “to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic” 

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, announced Sunday the launch of an eco-city “with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions” at its futuristic NEOM mega development.

The $500 billion NEOM project, set to be built from scratch along the kingdom’s picturesque Red Sea coast, is billed as a development evocative of a sci-fi blockbuster.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for a city, dubbed “THE LINE”, in a presentation broadcast on state TV.

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How ’15-minute cities’ will change the way we socialise

By Peter Yeung

How-15-minute-cities-change-socialise-1

A new urban planning model will change the French capital – and could provide a template for how to create stronger local communities and make residents happier.

For a long time, Solène Fraioli says she “refused to admit” that Paris could be a stressful place. The 29-year-old waitress, who grew up on the city’s outskirts but now lives in a studio in a historic central district, was dazzled by its infinite opportunity – from Monday-night jazz concerts to West African cuisine and capoeira classes. But Fraioli began to recognise that living in the City of Light had certain disadvantages – particularly its frenetic, nonstop energy. “Paris is a city that is always on the move,” she says. “Everyone, all the time, everywhere.”

That conveyor belt of choice came crashing to a halt with the coronavirus pandemic. But for Fraioli, the two-month lockdown that began on 17 March – confining her to a 1km radius of her home – gave her a nuanced, enriching view of her neighbourhood. “I discovered it’s possible to feel like you’re in a small village in Paris,” she says. “To get to know your neighbours, to maintain good links with shopkeepers, to favour local craftsmen and shops over large supermarkets. I even joined a citizens’ movement where people prepare food baskets for homeless people. I thought I would have a hard time living the lockdown, but I was perfectly at home, in a quiet place.”

She’s not the only one who felt this way. “Unexpectedly, this experience strengthened the bonds I had with some people,” says Valentin Jedraszyk, a 25-year-old civil servant living in the south of Paris. “It led me to criss-cross the small streets of my district more than usual and thus to discover magnificent places just a stone’s throw from my home.”

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