Visions of Smart Cities
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A good smart city concept!

Shaping the future means shaping ideas. And who can do this better than writers, philosophers, film-makers, artists and visionaries? Most of them have dedicated their lives to imagining the city of the future, fantasy worlds we can live in. What’s Up, Germany? introduces visions, straight from the future, of how cities could look like, and what you can do to be a part of it. Let’s walk the road ahead together!

THE OCEAN SPIRAL
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THE OCEAN SPIRAL

In 2030, Arielle the Mermaid might glimpse into our living rooms! The Japanese firm Shimizu Corporation is preparing to launch a never-seen- before underwater project in the Pacific Ocean. The ₹1.67 lakh crore deep-sea eco-city with dedicated business and lifestyle zones will produce its own energy from sea resources. As it is extremely difficult to build underwater, the entire construction will happen at the sea surface. Down under just got a totally new meaning!

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THE VENUS PROJECT
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THE VENUS PROJECT

Brainchild of 100-year-old architect Jacque Fresco, the Venus Project, located in Venus, Florida, envisions a different way of how people can live together. As of now, Fresco and his team have completed a 21-acre research centre. Fresco’s designs focus on a circular city with a central dome surrounded by rings of buildings. His smart city concept is of a cybernetic city built on an eco-friendly design, with a system that works on a resource-based economy, for the good of all.

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NEW NEW YORK IN FUTURAMA (1999)
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NEW NEW YORK IN FUTURAMA (1999)

This animated sci-fi sitcom, favoured by kids and geeks alike, is set in New New York during the 31st century. It shows people zipping around on floating scooters and time travel boxes. But not many people know that the sitcom’s name was derived from an exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair that took a stab at predicting how the world would look like 20 years into the future: automated highways with radio-controlled cars, vast suburbs and disc-shaped airports. These smart city solutions sure were ahead of their time!

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RIVER OF GODS(2004)
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RIVER OF GODS(2004)

Have you ever wondered how it would be like to live in India 30 years from now? Ian McDonald has it all worked out in his award-winning sci-fi novel, River of Gods. Set largely in and around Varanasi, it depicts a futuristic India in 2047. It is the 100th anniversary of India’s inde-pendence, and the monsoon is already three years and two months late, leading to internal tensions. It’s an exciting story about ancient traditions and advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and nanotechnology!

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TAKE ACTION! BECOME A SMART CITIZEN

In our role as urban individuals, we have moved into an era of open data, crowdfunding, sharing economy and real-time democracy. Citizens all over the world have started to self-organise, create new services and find alternative ways of sharing information as part of a smart city concept. The result? Exciting innovations and ideas that can improve lives, strengthen e-participation and lead to the co-creation of policies. What’s Up, Germany? presents three ways to become a smart(er) citizen.

Download a Smart Citizen kit: This monitoring platform allows users to track environmental data in real time and implement that knowledge into participatory solutions in areas like traffic management, etc.

Create solutions to improve the status quo: A smart citizen is an active citizen. If you are unhappy with a situation and have suggestions to improve it, don’t wait. Create an online poll that identifies potential solutions by asking other citizens and propose a way out to local government bodies. Spread the word via Twitter or a blog post.

Teach, educate and spread the joy: Not everyone is equipped to be a smart citizen from the start, but everyone can become one. You can help people figure out how to google, operate a smartphone or participate in polls and forums. That way no one will be left out.