With the realisation that there is more space below our feet than around us, the cities of the future may be developed downwards -- rather than sky-high. Ideally, all the important infrastructure needed to run a city will be happily tucked away below our feet, while leaving the surface for more natural structures.
"We have so much room underground," said Sam Ariaratnam, a professor at Arizona State University and the chairman of the International Society for Trenchless Technology. "That underground real estate -- people need to start looking at it. And they are starting to look at it."
The federal government has taken an interest, convening a panel of specialists under the banner of the National Academy of Engineering to produce a report, due out later this year, on the potential uses for America's underground space, and in particular its importance in building sustainable cities. The long-term vision is one in which the surface of the earth is reserved for the things we want to see and be around -- houses, schools, yards, parks -- while all the other facilities that are needed to make a city run, from water treatment plants to data banks to freight systems, hum away underground.
|(Another) Newspaper of the Future|
|Reducing the Half Life of Nuclear Waste from 100,000 to a Few Hundred Years|
|"Google's Dave Vos foresees a day when thousands of drones will routinely ply the skies above cities."|
|The Wireless Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens|
|"Half of students are chasing careers that will be made obsolete by advances in technology and automation."|
|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|
|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|Making a Movie Inside a Video Game|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|Defacing Street Signs Can Send Self-Driving Cars Crashing|
|“Within 30 years, half of humanity won't have a job. It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”|
|“After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.”|
|“The algorithm chose; Max attended.”|