Cities of the Past, Present & Future

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and their various equivalents across different continents and cultures are a snapshot into the genius and innovation of architects, engineers, and city-planners throughout human history. For thousands of years we have sought to design and build palaces, temples, public squares, bazaars, stadiums, gardens, and towers of all kinds in an attempt to revere, replicate, and even overcome nature and the divine.

Human history is crammed full of dreamers and brickies, everywhere you go, from King Suryavarman II of the Khmer in Cambodia to Pharaoh Khufu who built (single handedly, of course) the Great Pyramid at Giza. Don’t ever let anyone tell you there are no upshots to being a God-king! The 21st Century is no different.

Huge urban centres are far more common and widespread now than they have ever been before (according to the best of our knowledge!), and the global population has reached 8 billion. Many capital cities, including Jakarta, Dhaka, and Lagos, are on the verge of major ecological disaster. In response to such a threat to human life, governments around the world are planning or currently building new cities as well as developing existing cities to sustain larger populations and withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

We have a keen interest in the development of future cities and infrastructure here at Affari. Last year we designed and delivered a digital 3D city experience for Fujitsu to demonstrate how their services will benefit the City of Kawasaki in Japan. The smart cities of the future will not only be the space in which most of us live, but will also play a key role in the protection of their inhabitants. Tsunami early warning and evacuation systems, for example, will predict, risk assess, and limit damage and loss of life with artificial intelligence (AI).

In many instances, the city-planning also accounts for ecological disasters caused by humans – for example making cities greener with more park space and green walls on buildings. This helps to reduce smog and other pollutants, as well as facilitating an environment more conducive to good mental health. Singapore has spearheaded this with its move towards a greener metropolis.

Immersive Marketing for Megaprojects

What might the cities of the future look like? How might they be supported? Where will they be built? These questions have been and will continue to be answered by the small armies of engineers, architects, ecologists, and civil servants working on such megaprojects. Not to mention the creativity of marketers and graphic designers, who illuminate future projects by providing the overall vision and aesthetic – which is in turn what inevitably attracts attention and investment.

Across the world, new designs for a megaproject or two here and a megalopolis there barely evoke the bat of an eyelid unless they are substantially more ambitious or novel in comparison to what’s been done before. Take a look at Saudi Arabia alone: the mountainous Abraj Kudai hotel at the holy site of Mecca and the plans for ‘The Line’ city through Neom. These projects are other-worldly, like they have been conjured up by someone writing a retro sci-fi fairytale. Artists and designers are central to the planning and undertaking of these megaprojects.

China has been in the business of building megacities and undertaking megaprojects for decades. Many of the Chinese macro-engineering developments have been a success, such as the Three Gorges Dam which produces enough electricity in a day to power over 5 million homes for a month. Tokyo, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Qatar are glistening examples of the vision governments in developing countries have for their future.

The Egyptian Government has recently laid the groundwork for a new capital city, which would consolidate their ministries into one place as they are currently rather inconveniently scattered across chaotic and densely populated Cairo. In Nigeria, the Government has unveiled plans to build a smart city close to their capital, Abuja; in various countries, including the Philippines, Kuwait, and Qatar, there are plans to build an ‘Entertainment City’ to boost the economy and encourage tourism. Some megaprojects are designed to increase GDP, others are designed to increase life expectancy, promote good health, and improve civic engagement.

It’s quite awe-inspiring to think: in the next few decades we are going to see entirely new cities emerge all over the world, some of them giving New York a run for its money! AI will have a central role to play in the cities of the future, indeed AI is already being integrated into the infrastructure of cities to make policing and traffic control more efficient.

Here at Affari we are well aware of the benefits AI is beginning to bring to the table. At London Tech Week last year we showcased three projects our client Fujitsu had commissioned. We built two 3D cities, one to demonstrate the capabilities of Fujitsu’s quantum and AI solutions, and another to illustrate their partnership with the City of Kawasaki in Japan; as well as a 2D animation to market their Actylser solution.

How do you market for something which doesn’t yet exist? How do you educate investors and stakeholders about the intricacies and benefits of infrastructure they cannot see? That’s where we come in! Follow this link to learn more about our 2D and 3D solutions.