Built environment – present, detail

Present. Built environment.

The built environment aims for higher concentrations of people, with a dependency on private transport. There are few considerations for electrification of transport, and mobility options are very limited.

Spaces between buildings and walkways are seen as spaces for refuse or temporary parking.

Overhead lines begin to crowd what few trees there are along the streets, and the sidewalks aren’t inviting to pedestrian traffic.

Commerce is in centres that require big, multi-storey parking garages. The priority for more and more construction as short-term job-creation and investment often delivers misplaced buildings—so tall buildings rise in areas where city services can’t function for them.

Buildings have poor energy efficiency and insulation. Most are built with steel-reinforced concrete. Most buildings and homes aren’t built with climate impacts in mind, and no renewable energy (PV, water heaters) are really visible.

Built environment – dystopia, detail

Dystopia. Built environment.

The city is choked with construction. Dust and grime are everywhere.

There’s no sight of shade for the street, as cars are parked everywhere there’s space, and trees have been cut back for overhead power lines. No sign of renewables; rooftops are crammed with air conditioning units.

The first five floors of buildings are for parking, if not the rooftops. There are overflowing drains on the street, as storms don’t have the time or place to soak into the ground, and hardscapes predominate all the way up the mountain. Buildings generally have poor services, as construction is not convivial and follows little order.

Still no energy efficiency nor insulation, and buildings are still built with steel-reinforced concrete and poorly built windows.

Spaces between buildings have no priority for people—cars and refuse are the priority in public spaces.

Built environment – eutopia, detail

Eutopia. Built environment.

Taller buildings have an order, and spaces around them allow for interaction with people. Spaces between buildings are used for congregation and open-air activity.

Recycling programs have reduced the requirement of so much space for waste processing.

As mobility is more efficient, and varied, buildings don’t need as much parking, and have functional access to mobility options. The built environment is ordered for varied mobility and conviviality. Pathways have trees and other natural elements.

Nature does more work and is taken as a model for buildings. Buildings have rooftop gardens, solar panels, solar water heaters, double and triple pane windows, and rainfall is captured. Building materials and methods use less concrete and steel, and more carbon fibre, wood and other materials.

Commercial sites hardly need any parking, meaning that a greater variety of offerings is possible in the same footprint. There is more availability of smaller, local sites throughout the city, so most services are only a short walk from consumers—from shops, to markets, to parks or venues for art and performance.

The city as a whole is adapted for increased (e.g. increased precipitation, water storage, etc.).