A radical vision for reinventing the suburbs

Nicknamed the Orbit, the plan would turn a rural suburb into a transit-oriented commuter city.

Outside Toronto, in a field surrounded by farmland, the seeds of a seemingly implausible high-density, transit-oriented community are taking root.

The community is the Orbit, a futuristic-sounding name for a new district on the edge of the town of Innisfil, Ontario, a commuter city about a half-hour drive north of Toronto. The plan for the Orbit is a grid of streets radiating around a dense central district, with proposed mid-rise towers, plentiful open spaces, and a mix of residential, commercial, and civic buildings. The center point of the plan is a commuter rail station that links Innisfil and other suburban communities to Toronto.

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Hyundai shows off smart city concept incorporating underground autonomous networks

Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) has revealed its Smart City master model, which it presents as a philosophy to create cities which are “human-centered, coexist with nature, and embrace the future.”

 By LAWRENCE BUTCHER

HMG president and chief innovation officer Youngcho Chi said, “The HMG Smart City master model is our vision for a human-centered city that will revitalize urban communities. In the future smart cities, our ambition is for humankind to live with nature while embracing technology. Our air and ground mobility solutions will redefine urban boundaries, connect people in meaningful ways, and revitalize cities. We will continue to work with governments around the globe to bring our smart city vision to reality, while rapidly advancing capabilities in future mobility solutions.”

The HMG Smart City concept, inspired by a honeycomb pattern, envisions a hexagonal-shaped city with a human-centered surface layer and function-centered underground layer. On the surface layer, the buildings encircle nature, in the form of parks and forest, which sit at the center of the city, effectively minimizing the gross area developed.

The buildings are divided into three sections by population density – high, medium and low. The density decreases nearer the parks and forests in the city center, affording people an unobstructed view of nature from any part of the city. Buildings are arranged within these sections according to their purposes. For instance, city landmarks will be in the high-density area, while security infrastructure will be located in the medium density area, enabling effortless access to any section.

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Saudi Arabia Is Planning the Largest Buildings Ever Constructed

Mohammed bin Salman presents ‘The Line’ in 2021.Source: Neom

  • Parallel skyscrapers would make up linear city in Neom project
  • Prince’s mega-projects could be destination for oil windfall

B Vivian Nereim

Saudi Arabia is planning the world’s largest buildings in a mostly unpopulated part of the country as part of an entirely new $500 billion development called Neom, according to people familiar with the matter.

Neom, the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, aims to build twin skyscrapers about 500 meters (1,640 feet) tall that stretch horizontally for dozens of miles, the people said. 

The skyscrapers would house a mix of residential, retail and office space running from the Red Sea coast into the desert, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The plan is a shift from the concept announced last year of building a string of developments linked by underground hyper-speed rail, into a long continuous structure, the people said.h

Designers were instructed to work on a half mile-long prototype, current and former Neom employees said. If it goes forward in full, each structure would be larger than the world’s current biggest buildings, most of which are factories or malls rather than residential communities.

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The Design for the World’s First Floating Sustainable City Unveiled

by Otilia Drăgan

“Floating infrastructure” and “waterborne urbanism” sound like things from a Sci-Fi movie, but they are being brought to life in a truly groundbreaking project. The world’s first floating city that’s also 100% sustainable was announced a couple of years ago, and its future design was recently unveiled.

As it is in most cases, while some are lobbying for a return to minimalistic, simple dwellings that are as close to nature as possible, others are taking a radically opposite approach, envisioning futuristic urban communities that are unlike anything that’s been done before. Neom is one of the most recent projects of this kind, which is currently being built in the Tabuk province of Saudi Arabia. 

But there’s no other floating city concept except for Oceanix Busan. UN-Habitat, the Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of Korea, and Oceanix (a New York-based blue technology company) teamed up to create this futuristic city that is by no means a simple experiment, but a potential solution to a very serious problem. 

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This Korean smart city is a testing ground for robots, AR, and AI

Interview with Hwang Jong Sung, Lead Researcher of the National Information Society Agency and the former Master Planner of the Busan Eco Delta Smart City. 

By Liew Ming En

At a seaside town in South Korea, science fiction meets reality. At 7 am, your home greets you and reminds you to stretch. As you get dressed, smart mirrors keep you updated on the day’s news. Outside, tiny robots zip through the streets, keeping the roads clean.

This is the Busan Eco Delta Smart City, as described by the New York Times. A pilot project first announced in 2018, the city was designed to be smart from the onset. It will feature cutting-edge tech like robots, AR, and AI that hopes to bring greater convenience to its residents.

Hwang Jong Sung, Lead Researcher of the National Information Society Agency and the former Master Planner of the city, shares more about the tech and mission of the city.

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Blockchain will empower smart cities of the future

Smart Dubai is exploring blockchain use cases across a variety of areas as part of its goal to make Dubai the happiest and most innovative city on the planet

By Rohma Sadaqat

Blockchain is a novel technology that can remove market inefficiencies and spur economic growth when applied to existing businesses or industries, says Kokila Alagh, founder of Karm Legal Consultants.

Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Gitex Global 2021 exhibition in Dubai, she explained that all the industries stand to benefit from blockchain technology. “Blockchain can empower smart cities as it enables information sharing without the need for a single administrator and a single point of failure. Blockchain allows network members to share data with a high degree of dependability and transparency. Cities have a diverse set of stakeholders, and data sharing among them is critical for providing high-quality urban services.”

For this data exchange, blockchain is anticipated to be utilised. Smart Dubai, for example, is exploring blockchain use cases across a variety of areas, including banking, education, and transportation, as part of its goal to make Dubai the happiest and most innovative city on the planet. In another use case, a program is underway to use blockchain to simplify registration processes for students travelling between different emirates.

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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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