City Domes, Dream or Necessity?

Peter Brickell
MEP Director, Digital Transformation
AECOM, London

Climate change has become one of the most critical challenges to be addressed by humanity. With a worldwide population that will reach figures near 6.7 Billion by 2050, 90% of this growth is expected to take place in Asia and Africa, being their biggest cities to absorb this growth currently exposed to extreme hot conditions. Even when necessary steps are being taken place to reduce the planet climate change, it would be reckless not to prepare ourselves for a scenario in which climate warmth might put at risk this expected, but necessary urban growth.
At the heart of this challenge resides the possibility of providing cities with their own outdoors controlled environment. Innovative thinking needs to be put in place to come up with solutions that back in the days might have be considered as unfeasible or utopian. We will travel from the precursors of environment-controlled cities like Fuller’s Manhattan Dome Project to more current challenges where eco towers and other elements have become essential to the equation, ending with the work produced by a group of engineers of this firm in Doha to design a Dome City of 1km diameter to host the main amenities for the Football World Cup 2022.
The team explored the different options to maximise efficiency and allowed for a sustainable design addressing the 3 main challenges that this development might face: column-free structural design, climate-controlled environment and integration with tall buildings. This space could not be created without merging ancient and new technologies to create an intelligent design supported by the skyscrapers of the future, re-establishing our fundamental connection the sun, and use it to create energy and ventilation.

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