Where will we live?

“Self-building buildings” could be dropped into any environment, combining local materials with advanced biotechnology and automated construction to “grow” new infrastructure and housing for displaced populations or growing cities.

VIDEO HERE

Sea level rises will displace more than 375 million people if global temperatures rise by an average of 2 degrees Centigrade. Melting polar ice, desertification and more extreme climate events will put our cities and homes at risk, forcing us to find new ways of living. The third section of the exhibition imagines a future where the UAE has developed new solutions to providing urban structures quickly.

City Kit

The “City Kit” is a self-building building solution that uses biotechnology and robotics to grow new buildings. It combines local material with bacteriological process to create bio-cement applied by autonomous robots and 3D printing drones. It can grow 100% self-sufficient cities in a matter of weeks.

City Kit

The “City Kit” is a self-building building solution that uses biotechnology and robotics to grow new buildings. It combines local material with bacteriological process to create bio-cement applied by autonomous robots and 3D printing drones. It can grow 100% self-sufficient cities in a matter of weeks.

City Kit Sales Center

At the Sales Centre, visitors could test drive City Kit’s in virtual environments to see how it might work in their local setting.

City Kit Sales Center

At the Sales Centre, visitors could test drive City Kit’s in virtual environments to see how it might work in their local setting.

City Kit Deployment

Here we see single unit launched from airborne blimps. Within seconds, it unfolds into a local production center. After evaluating its surroundings, it transforms local resources into building materials and begins printing and growing sustainable infrastructure. Algorithmic urban planning connects nearby units to develop entire cities and districts.

City Kit Deployment

Here we see single unit launched from airborne blimps. Within seconds, it unfolds into a local production center. After evaluating its surroundings, it transforms local resources into building materials and begins printing and growing sustainable infrastructure. Algorithmic urban planning connects nearby units to develop entire cities and districts.

Bioremediation

The system mixes sand and bacteria to create new roads, buildings, and infrastructure, but it can be used to plants trees, mushroom colonies, and biochar tunnels to revive polluted industrial sites and ruined neighbourhoods.

Bioremediation
The system mixes sand and bacteria to create new roads, buildings, and infrastructure, but it can be used to plants trees, mushroom colonies, and biochar tunnels to revive polluted industrial sites and ruined neighbourhoods.

Retrofitting

City Kit could also upgrade and enhance existing urban environments. Using City Kit inonan existing neighbourhood and it will drain flooded streets, repair crumbling buildings, and grow new infrastructure around it.

Retrofitting

City Kit could also upgrade and enhance existing urban environments. Using City Kit inonan existing neighbourhood and it will drain flooded streets, repair crumbling buildings, and grow new infrastructure around it.

Neighbourhood Recreation

Finally, City Kit could also be used to recreate any neighbourhood in the world. It uses a global database of 3D scanned environments to rebuild exact replicas of any place or any building, or remix styles into any aesthetic you like. City Kit Recreations helps to make you feel at home, no matter where you go, thereby minimising the social and psychological trauma of resettled climate refugees.

Neighbourhood Recreation
Finally, City Kit could also be used to recreate any neighbourhood in the world. It uses a global database of 3D scanned environments to rebuild exact replicas of any place or any building, or remix styles into any aesthetic you like. City Kit Recreations helps to make you feel at home, no matter where you go, thereby minimising the social and psychological trauma of resettled climate refugees.

Research behind the exhibit

Recent estimates are as high as 6 metres by 2100, if global temperatures rise by an average of only 2 degrees Centigrade. This would put 375 million people living in coast cities at risk. (Although estimates vary – projections of sea-level rises over 50-100 years are measured with less than 70% accuracy.)

At the same time, natural and human disasters happen with increasing frequency. Coupled with increasingly displaced populations and strained urban infrastructure, there will continue to be demand for rapid high quality urban development solutions.

This exhibit imagines a kit that builds or rebuilds neighbourhoods in almost any setting, pulling on surrounding infrastructure and existing knowledge from cities around the world.

The City Kit unit is designed so that it can be dropped into any location by plane or truck. It harvests information from existing buildings, land and utilities. This information is analysed in order to develop a bespoke construction solution, using a global and historical database of city infrastructure and building techniques. Open source housebuilding projects already exist; by 2050 this will have expanded to neighbourhood scale with a much wider set of options for construction techniques.  

Local biological materials are already starting to be used in construction as an alternative to bricks and mortar. There are early prototypes of large structures made from agricultural byproducts and mushroom root. By 2050, it is possible that the City Kit will use only materials developed from organisms found in a specific location.

Mushroom, or fungus more generally, are also used for clearing toxins and fuel spills. Oyster mushroom remove up to 95% of chemicals found in areas where coal, oil or gas are burnt nearby. For areas that have seen environmental damage, the City Kit would begin by cleaning up pollution and plant trees and grasses that would kick-start a local ecosystem.

The kit will then start to build, retrofitting to damaged buildings and trying out new techniques where space and time allows. It is deployed by a combination of large scale 3D printing, already used for aeroplane parts and concrete buildings.

For communities displaced en masse, the bespoke design process would offer them an opportunity to recreate their original neighbourhood. This provides the comfort of living at home. Cultural bereavement is a major contributor to mental health issues experienced by displaced populations. Of course, the database of buildings could also be used to recreate a favourite historical or global location – recreating locations lost to sea level rises or damaged by war. 3D data is already being used to recreate damaged historical monuments.

Once the City Kit has built a neighbourhood, it then retreats into a dormant state. It becomes the centre of infrastructure, managing internet servers, waste water, energy grids etc.  

The exhibit is set up as a sales centre for the City Kit. This emphasises the wider changes in the construction sector that City Kit is part of. It is city construction as a service, neighbourhood by neighbourhood rather than as large projects built over many years. Each kit responds to the location it finds itself in – a future where novel architecture is developed as part of a process to serve the local environment.

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