As the World Grows Bigger, Can it Get Greener?

The problem with population booms like the one we're experiencing is that at some point you run out of usable resources to support it.
From: Alex Summers
June 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

We’re in a world that’s experiencing a huge population boom. In just 30 years, the planet has gone from 4.5 billion people to over 7 billion. That sort of growth is going to require infrastructure, housing and development in order to accommodate it. The problem with population booms, such as the one we’re experiencing, is that at some point you run out of usable resources to support it.

Several countries – such as China, UAE, and Singapore – are adapting to the changing needs of the populace by adapting to a more “futurist” style. These buildings are engineering masterpieces which house entire self-sufficient communities and feature communal areas, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and even full-blown shopping malls.

Are these types of residences the future? It’d be hard to argue against it. These newer tower developments aren’t just beautiful, they’re seeking environmental statuses – such as LEED certification – and overall sustainability as well.

In addition to environmental benefits, you can’t understate the boost these projects are giving to the local economies. Unskilled and skilled laborers, engineers, small businesses offering construction equipment for sale and rent, machine operators, and others all stand to profit mightily from this sort of green and sustainable development.

From there, it just spirals, as the buildings get bigger the minds that create them have to get more creative, leading to more jobs in engineering and architecture. The equipment operators have to get more savvy and learn to use better, and more modern equipment, leading to more operators, factory labor positions (to build the machines and provide the parts), and well paying supervisory jobs in order to keep everything in order. The economic benefits can’t be understated, as many of these buildings are being built in some of the most impoverished nations of the planet.

Let’s dive in deep and look at a couple of the modern housing models that the future of our planet might depend on.

3XN

India is one of the world’s largest, and most polluting countries. 3XN obviously can’t undo what’s already been done, but it aims to create a standard by which the rest of the developing nation’s mixed use residential towers must live up to.

The tower features lower levels that wrap around one another, a design that mimics the native mangroves in the Mumbai area.

A mixed-use building which features over 250 residential units, as well as businesses, shops and restaurants, 3XN was also designed with a gold LEED certification in mind.

Agora Tower

The Agora Tower broke ground in 2013 in Taipei with great fanfare. The building itself is inspired by the twisting helix design of DNA and has many features intended to keep the building green, while reducing strain on the nearby infrastructure.

The building features suspended gardens, which allow the residents to grow much of their own food, as well as a rain water catchment system that hopes to ease the burden of water consumption on the municipal supply, as well as providing a sustainable watering system for the aforementioned gardens.

Agora also hopes to use passive heating and cooling technology that utilizes a circular funnel which channels daylight to the basement of the building, a solar roof, and low E glass that mitigates excess heat while preventing thermal loss (unwanted cooling).

It should be quite impressive when it is finished in 2016.

These are just two examples that could provide a great model of what future housing developments look like. Largely sustainable and self-contained cities that provide all of the amenities without the need to burn fossil fuel in order to get to them. Between the economic benefit and the “green” effect of these sorts of developments, it’s going to be more and more common in the future to see developments of the green, and mixed use variety.