Measures with regard to urbanism taken from now on will define human beings’ quality of life.

It is estimated that currently around 54% of world population lives in big cities, which is to say, close to 3,900 million people. According to the information provided the United Nations, and a recent report by the World Bank on Urban Development, this figure could reach up to 6,000 million in less than thirty years, therefore the difficulties that the current urbanism model is facing.

Main difficulties of overpopulation in cities

One of the main disadvantages derived from such overpopulation is that CO2 emissions and these of agents of pollution will increase in an exponential way because more resources will be needed in order to administer cities as well as their inhabitants.

Supplying the population is one of the issues that in the long term may most affect life in big city centres. The right management of raw materials such as water, electricity, food or other resources such as transport may definitely determine the progress or decline of a city.

But not only the level of pollution is about to undergo a considerable growth, solid residues derived from human activity will as well, being it necessary to find a system that enables to recycle most part of these residues, by emitting the least amount possible of agents of pollution, and making use of the least amount of energy in each and every stage of the recycling process.

Another issue is the one related to the deterioration of infrastructures due to the excessive use they are subject to, being necessary to find a solution that guarantees their functioning in the long term.

Self-supply and energy conservation as a solution

Cities at the present time have grown thanks to a progress that has entailed a strong prejudice against the environment, in other words, with policies that have been, to date, not much sustainable. But this methodology is less and less feasible; governments, companies and the citizenship itself are becoming more and more conscious of the fact that the current management model has to be changed in pursuit of a more ecological one.

One of the key elements of the cities of the future is energy conservation. Supporting this model entails the reduction of the track left by the emission of agents of pollution into the atmosphere, so it is essential to count on buildings with a high level of insulation and low energy consumption.

With a view to reach this goal of tightness, it is necessary for the building to meet a set of requirements:

  • Having an envelope or roof that is able to keep the inner temperature stable and avoids thermal exchanges.
  • Having double glazed windows, and in places with extreme climates, windows equipped with a thermal bridge breaking system in order to obtain better insulation standards.
  • Installing automatic doors at the entrance of the building as well as in its different areas in order to demarcate them and avoid thermal exchanges. Automatic doors not only guarantee tightness in the building, but also become necessary in big cities since they remove architectural barriers.

New generation buildings must not only take into consideration the degree of tightness, but they also must practice nearly zero energy consumption, to which end it becomes necessary to:

  • Use recycled or natural materials for their construction.
  • Make use of renewable energy resources aimed to supply the building needs, from solar or geothermal energy to heat the facilities, to rainwater harvesting for irrigation, cleaning or services.
  • Build according to geography. This methodology is more and more extended in new construction since it may entail a high amount of energy conservation. Natural streams of air are used to ventilate the building, or solar irradiance can be used to warm it up. Besides, the materials of the area itself can be useful when the time comes to erect the building, this option being much more sustainable with regard to the environment.

Vertical gardens are another option offered by this new generation of buildings because they offer the possibility of reducing the amount of CO2 emissions and generate tons of oxygen, but they can also be the solution to “future” supplying problems, since they could be used to grow the food needed in tomorrow’s cities.

Cities at present must continue their development considering as main objectives self-supply, energy conservation and the closure of their productive cycles with a view to have at disposal a profitable future in which the environment gains more special relevance.

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