Martina Morawietz


Green, liveable and clever: That's life in the city of the future

"What will our cities look like in the future? From flight cabs, CityTrees and the end of searching a parking lot." A peek into the year 2050.

A woman and a man sitting on a park bench.

That's life in the city of the future.

When I open my eyes in 2050, my Smart Home will already be awake. The Smart Speaker plays my favorite music and instructs the coffee maker to brew coffee and set the lamps to "activity" mode. It reads out my appointments, compiles the files that are important for them and warns me of a rain shower at noon. So, don't forget the umbrella. While I enjoy my coffee, my mother's video pops up on the kitchen wall. She wants to introduce me to Pacco. Her new dog. And immediately the puppy rages virtually through my kitchen as a hologram.

From autopilots and delivery services

Fortunately I have time for such things, because traffic jams were yesterday or better last in 2040: Apart from the driverless car, many take the underground hypercabin or like me the air cab. It flies autonomously and my clever system has already booked me a seat. The cab knows that three more people from my neighborhood have to go to the city. It picks us up and quickly ropes off the important parcel for the neighbor as it flies past.

On the move in the city's green axis

Six-lane roads have were built back. Everywhere there are now jogging and bicycle paths and at many old crossroads playgrounds and vertical gardens. Even in bad weather all paths are dry and ice-free. This works through solar panels in the pavement. They even feed the surplus electricity into the power grid. All the factories are underground. This is also more practical: they are directly connected to the hypercabin network for all raw materials and goods shipments. 

Climate saved

On the old highways and freight stations, forests and flower meadows grow - especially rich in species for bees and insects. The EU and Germany had agreed on ambitious climate targets: By 2050, annual greenhouse gas emissions should have fallen by 80 to 95 percent compared to 1990. We have done it.

Wonderful new world - and what is there already? 

The CityTree cleans the air with special types of moss and also hides mobile connectivity for its control system and for people walking by making phone calls. You can also sit on it, by the way. Intelligent street lights become brighter when someone approaches. This saves energy, CO2 emissions and reduces light pollution threatening many insect species. With sensors or cameras, the lamps can also collect data on air quality and traffic. Of course, they also supply their surroundings with network connection if you want. The "gray boxes" at the roadside for telecom technology become sensor stations and collect data on pollutants and particulate matter in the air. In a data center, algorithms calculate the level of pollutants. This enables cities to take appropriate measures without having to build new infrastructures.

Arrive faster in vehicles that think along with you

Near Hanover, sensors monitor the occupancy of park and ride areas and match the information with public transport, bike sharing or cabs. This allows the entire route to be planned seamlessly. The city links utilization data with commuter data and thus knows the current traffic situation. Visitor flows at major events can also be better controlled. In Berlin, vehicles communicate with each other and with the surrounding area. They can detect weather conditions, available parking spaces or changing traffic lights. A digital infrastructure provides the basis for networked vehicles to move automatically and ultimately autonomously. Cars, traffic lights and street lamps are already getting into practice on the Lausitzring. They are also testing edge computing for real-time communication and exact localization via Precise Positioning. Darmstadt is conducting research for the so-called "teleoperated" streetcar, a partially automated or remote-controlled tramway. A "smart bridge" at the Cologne East Autobahn crossing collects data such as temperature, humidity and corrosion. This early warning system thus reports critical values for any damage itself. The traffic does not have to be interrupted for time-consuming test examinations.

At home it is the loveliest place

By the way, at home on my couch, a "Hello Magenta" is enough to change the TV program, dim the light or lower the temperature in the room. Wonderful world - already now.

Smart City: The networked city of the future

Smart City

Today’s cities face tremendous challenges – from rising populations, shrinking budgets to the need to economize on the use of resources.