Dubai has introduced the autonomous flying drone, again exceeding the limits of imagination and making the future’s vision alive today.
Although it is a mode of transportation, this is an indication of how our cities will look like in the future. The charm of the old city with its narrow shaded streets and intimate human scale has been replaced with multi-lane highways, making voids in between the skyscrapers. The man has sacrificed his city for his car, and the car has penetrated all domains of our life, so walking has become redundant; except for those who are persistent in maintaining their health and brought it back as an exercise inside state of the art gyms.
With the introduction of this light flying object, those highways may instead be the ones that become redundant.
What to expect in our future built environment would be as follows;
The building design:
The introduction of drones as a mode of transportation will revolutionize and re-model the architecture and designers will have to take care of following aspects:
- Designers would have to consider having two entrances, one on the roof for autonomous drone passengers and one on the ground for pedestrians.
- Parking spaces currently on ground, basements and multistory buildings will be replaced by parking lots on roofs dedicated for drones. The current ground level parking spaces could be replaced by landscaped gardens, giving city dwellers a greener and more sustainable environment.
The urban community:
Not only the building but also the ultra-modern way of transportation will affect the community systems in following ways.
- The current minimum width of urban community roads, prioritizing cars is 15m making it almost impossible to walk on will return to its original width, prioritizing the human scale and needs. This will bring back the intimacy, human scale, safety for children and cool microclimate for each neighborhood.
- Narrowing the streets not only enables more shaded areas, it also reduces the effect of heat islands. Open squares should be designed at intervals to allow for heat islands to be neutralized; creating movement and cool breezes and positively change the microclimate of our current cities.
- Community centers and shopping malls could move outside from covered ceiled buildings, bringing back life to the streets.
The city and infrastructure:
- Location: currently cities are located where they connect to existing roads. With the independence of these flying vehicles from roads, cities can be located anywhere. The investment made in connecting these cities to the main road network could be put into agriculture, the environment, and sustainable living.
- Topography: No longer are we limited to building on flat land, as now we can reach built environments up on mountains or down in the mountain foot.
The use of drones does not mean the roads will disappear completely in near future, especially for industries like shipping vehicles, it will certainly reduce the traffic on highways to a huge extent.
In science fiction movies, flying vehicles are often related to dark, dull, alienated cities. In a superficial level, this article shows a brighter side to these cities with the flying vehicles.
In a deeper level, open-minded decision makers and governments that seek to serve their people must start to implement this futuristic model now, which may have been imaginary unless Dubai insisted to live the future now.