Cities could be designed much more efficiently keeping in mind the needs of people, the environment, and emerging technologies. Masdar is an excellent example of this, but should be employed on a much larger scale. If only more than a few corporations and nations had the ambition to do so.
I think in designing systems for a city that we look at what is most efficient when decentralized and what is best when centralized. And perhaps for some systems, have both types of systems integrated together. For example, generating energy. A building should generate and recycle as much energy as it can, but when it can't, it should still be connected to "the grid" or a larger, central power system. However, in less dense places of the world, just solar panels on the roof will provide the majority of your energy needs.
But first and foremost we need to keep in mind our needs. That is, if you have too much trash, look at what you're buying. Are you buying products with wasteful packaging? Are you buying too many things only to throw things away? Find ways in which you can reduce this
- purchase most of your things in packaging which can be recycled or reused efficiently, or better yet, broken down in your back yard.
- don't buy things you don't want, and if you want something, try not to buy it unless you "need" it
- dematerialize everything you can -- just this decade the watch, calculator, GPS, flashlight, camera, and myriad other devices dematerialized.
Then, when you do need to "throw" away something.
- compost it if you can
- recycle it if you can
- donate it if someone else would benefit it
- In a few years, purchase a 3D printer and possibly something that melts down materials for you (or go halfsies with your neighbour, or neighbours, etc.)
- If you have useless things that can be used as 3D printed material, use it.
As for a decentralized approach to this:
- smart garbage/recycling bins could potentially pilot themselves
- they could be powered by solar power and supplemented by your house's electrical power
- they could potentially go to larger centralized recycling areas and there perhaps a simple automated system could sort its contents
- this would be much more efficient than having us lazy humans go through our trash.
I don't see the undercity landscape for old areas changing very slowly, so we only have above ground to work with for now, but instead of tubes, it could be very efficient to house all transportation underneath cities, decreasing the actual size of a city by 50% and increasing the city's efficiency by a squared factor (by 400% for a 50% size reduction).
Edited by Malgidus, 22 March 2013 - 04:41 AM.
My mind has been torn into Oblivion, is there a way to tear that too? Reach into the Oblivion, and through Zen, tear the Universe anew.
Tradesman by day, [game] programmer by night. Philosopher all day long. @Malgidus |Forest Bear Studios