Is the Vertical City a viable solution for sustainable living?

Vertical city imageThe concept of the Vertical City is fascinating and attractive to some people, and totally repulsive to others. In principle, living and working in a building hundreds of stories high makes a great deal of sense; it prevents the loss of farmland and natural greenbelts, it reduces air pollution (since all commuting is vertical where the distances are much shorter and the transport mechanism much more efficient) and reduces the need for all the roads that service horizontal cities, so people can just walk out into parkland. This is why I have been so fascinated with the work of Zhang Yue and Broad Sustainable Building and his vision of a 220 storey Sky City.

Others are deeply committed to the concept too; Authors Kenneth King and Kelogg Wong are putting together a coffee table book promoting the idea of the vertical city. They have developed an impressive Manifesto:

A new urban form is in need urgently and experts in relevant areas have discussed and experimented with different ways to solve humanities’ most pressing problems. Although some methods have remitted some issues more or less, still we have not been able to eliminate the urban crisis. That’s why we hope Vertical City will be the new urban form that can solve our problems. “If it is properly designed, a Vertical City provides its residents with a sense of belonging to a community and most importantly, it is easier and less costly to maintain and operate.” A well designed Vertical City will address concerns in three areas – Environmental, Formal, and Socioeconomic/Political – and will achieve eight key objectives in each area.

In Environmental, points include the Big One, curb global warming; preservation of arable land; local food made without preservatives or refrigerants.

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