Creating tomorrow’s world

Future City Sam Howzit 1

Image credit: "Future City" by Sam Howzit is licensed under CC By 2.0.

1 August 2016


“Engineers will build our future.”

Speaking in the 2015 QEPrize Create the Future report, Helge Lund, Chief Executive of BG group, recognised the enormous potential for engineering to solve some of the world’s biggest issues.

The report itself went on to highlight that people are united in their respect for the engineering sector’s positive influence on society in the past, and more importantly, nine in ten believe it remains the key to unlocking the social, environmental and structural challenges of the future.

This month, we will take a look at some of the ideas and innovations that are helping to build the cities of tomorrow. A successful future city is one that can provide a thriving economy and good quality of life, while leaving a minimal environmental footprint. In order to help explore the rich ecosystem of organisations that make up the cities of the future, the Royal Academy of Engineering has this week published a new, interactive tool. By peeling back each layer, the tool allows you to navigate your way through the different aspects of a city, from the day-to-day running of cities by council officers, employers and cultural customs all the way through to the cities knowledge base and key decision makers.

Next, we take a look at what could happen when things go wrong, and the pioneering solution that has been provided by leading designers and engineers at MIT. In a world of increasing reliance on technology, disaster situations can pose an additional threat to a city’s infrastructure network. Blending art and science together, MIT’s Urban Risk Lab has developed an innovative, off-grid facility to provide immediate, post-emergency services to citizens. The shelter, which would be deployed in regions prone to hurricanes or earthquakes, is designed to ensure cities of the future can get back on their feet and running again much sooner after disaster strikes.

Later, we will meet with two recent graduates from the Innovation Design Engineering course in collaboration with the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. These innovative ideas provide solutions to some of the problems of our ever advancing world, whilst reducing the impacts of waste on the environment. Aeropowder sees a particular by-product of the food industry being recycled into highly efficient building insulation, while Materialise employs waste algae from the biofuel industry to create a sustainable and biodegradable temporary road surface.

Finally, QEPrize Director Keshini Navaratnam meets with three leading engineers from around the world, discussing the incredible advances they have made in the built environment. In this video, Keshini is joined by William Baker, the man behind the tallest building in the world; Michel Virlogeux, who engineered the Millau Viaduct; and Ilya Marotta, who led the expansion of the Panama Canal, which was successfully completed earlier this summer.

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