A City in the Sky, is it Possible?

Berlin: Living space is of the essence with the global population soaring and average life expectancy improving due to advances in medical care. This poses significant problems of overcrowding and overpopulation as developers struggle to keep up with the need for housing. Can vertical cities be the answer? Lamudi- the global property portal takes a look at the concept of sky cities.

The need for the construction of new housing is in direct conflict with our duty to protect the environment. Building new houses often results in the destruction of forests and vital ecosystems are disrupted. As our population grows at an alarming rate, the environment we live in will no longer be able to support us if drastic changes are not made.

People are starting to look to the sky for inspiration. Vertical cities, may just be the solution we have been looking for. A vertical city is a complete, self-sustaining community based entirely in a skyscraper. In such a city people would live, work, educate and go about their day-to-day business from the comfort of the clouds. The impact on the environment would be drastically reduced. There are many strong proponents of this sustainable alternative to city life and authors Kenneth King and Kelogg Wong have even published a manifesto to advocate the merits of the city in the sky.

Who will fund it?

Right now, the idea of a vertical city is just a pie in the sky, and the biggest barrier to transform this concept into reality is capital funding. To create and maintain such a city would be very costly and time-consuming.  Developers and governments need to think of a collaborative approach to make this concept a cost-efficient reality.

Emotional well-being

People are happiest when they are outdoors in their most natural environment, so how will vertical cities address this basic human need. Will there be an open deck area where people can walk as if outdoors?  A transparent ceiling might be the answer, with translucent glass on the exteriors. Recreational areas could be built with swimming pools and fitness centres to allow  people to absorb their daily vitamin D requirement.

Sky City (Changsha)

Broad Sustainable Building had plans for an 838 metre-tall skyscraper in China. They estimated that it would only have taken 90 days to construct. According to the plan, the building’s 202 stories was meant to have a hotel, a hospital, offices and shops. For transportation they had 104 high-speed elevators in the designs, but government approval was not met and it now being used as a fish farm for locals. The world’s tallest building still remains the Burg Khalifa in Dubai, standing at 828 metres but this will soon be overtaken by the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah estimated to reach a height of over 1,000 metres.


The key divide will need to be between work and residential areas. As much as employers may wish for both sides to blend, morale may wane if an employee lives too close to his place of work. When implementing designs there needs to be a clear distinction between work and play areas. At this concept stage there are many ideas; it is important that there are different towers for farming and agricultural areas that can be connected by a bridge.

Transportation internally would most likely be by elevators and monorails. Comfort will need to be at the forefront of all decision making to avoid what could transpire to be a dystopian nightmare if designed incorrectly, like the panopticon.

What the future holds

The first vertical city may be some time away. For the concept to become a tangible reality, there are many barriers that need to be overcome. Health and safety considerations need to be extensively researched. How dangerous is a skyscraper with so much activity? Will people become depressed due to the confinement? What will the real benefits be to the environment and can vertical cities one day save the future of the planet? That remains to be seen…






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