If we continue on the route we are on, the cities of the future are undoubtedly going to be smoggy places. A collective of engineers, futurists, and designers are drawing on inspiration from the 1960’s sci-fi cartoon series The Jetsons to help imagine the future of urban living for the 21st century.
In their super-sleek vision, the engineering company Arconic see the cities of 2062 to be reactive, self-sufficient, and more "natural" feeling than the harsh man-made environments of today.
Their new campaign – dubbed “The Jetsons” – features designs of a skyscraper complete with smog-absorbing surfaces. The trick is their EcoClean technology, a titanium dioxide coating painted onto an aluminum surface to create a coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps “clean” the air around itself. This technology utilizes the properties of free radical atoms to draw in nitrogen oxide pollutants from the air and break them down into harmless nitrate.
Since this material is also extremely hydrophilic when exposed to UV light, water will fall flat on the surface, instead of as bunched up beads, allowing the exterior to sweep off any grime or debris and stay squeaky clean, without the need for window cleaners.
The building will also feature “high-thermal performance” to provide a high level of energy efficiency and will be highly durable to protect against natural disasters, which are also likely to increase in the near future due to climate change.
And, of course, the vast majority of the materials for the structure will be 3D-printed to allow clients to have a greater level of flexibility in its appearance. In the Arconic video below, Arconic CEO Klaus Kleinfeld claims the buildings "won’t feel like something that was humanly created.” Instead, the cityscape of the future will appear and “feel organic”.
Among their other ideas is a series of flying cars and vehicles (now you can see The Jetsons reference) using the latest aerospace material technology.
It’s an impressively ambitious plan, so the company doesn’t expect its dreams will be realized until 2062. It all might sound a bit mad, but then, the best ideas often are.