The future of cities

The future of cities

The world is urbanizing more and more

According to surveys by the United Nations, around 70 percent of the world's population will be living in metropolitan areas by the year 2050. Life becomes cramped. Noisy. Stuffy. Aggressive. Unaffordable. Lonely. The challenges are daunting. Yet they are being taken on by an increasing number of designers who develop innovative solutions for cities and the mobility of tomorrow, drive forward electric motorization, reflect upon drone delivery services, focus on car sharing solutions, and create space and projects for social participation, while keeping both humankind and the environment in mind. They develop health-promoting architecture and plant vertical gardens. Why not convert flat roofs into garden plots? Flowers are sown and radishes are harvested on wastelands, walls or abandoned green strips. In green neighborhood, integration or kindergarten projects, community can be lived and nature in the city can be re-experienced - with all its beneficial effects.

"Cities have always been and continue to be places of hope and longing" – that was the motto of the MCBW panel discussion "City 4.0" two years ago. "It’s where art and culture are, the big theaters, galleries and the subcultural ventures. The fancy boutiques, bars and restaurants, start-ups and agencies. And work. Cities are places of transformation, of innovation and the promise of prosperity."

The downsides are all too well known: traffic collapse and air pollution, housing shortage and cultural disparities, the gap between rich and poor. Where does the city have a safe space for diversity? For plurality of opinions? For exchange? Prof. Mazda Adli M.D. points out further consequences of city life, stating that the risk of becoming schizophrenic is about twice as high in urban residents as in country dwellers, and the risk of developing anxiety disorders is 21% higher in the city than in rural areas. He identifies "social stress" as the root cause: too many people on too little space, with barely any connection to each other. The Moriyama House in Tokyo provides an alternative. It offers residents a broad variety of spaces that can be used in different ways: communal spaces, meeting spaces, and private spaces to withdraw into one’s personal sphere. If residents need a kitchen to cook dinner with friends, they simply book it as a temporary addition.