Cities of the Future

The title of my last entry was“Still not sustainable”, in an effort to emphasize the concept of“Sustainability“; as it is such a large and inclusive field where there is a whole lot to learn and apply. I had also mentioned some real estate projects in Turkey which stand in the forefront, as they had the necessary certifications for sustainability, and had been awarded by the industry organizations. I hope to be able to inform you of many projects that might be setting the path for“Cities of the future”, both in Istanbul and around Turkey. This week’s entry, however, is about what’s going on in Europe and the rest of the world as far as sustainability is concerned.

We will give it a start this week with Germany, one of the most“sustainable” European countries and with Professor Albert Speer who has worked on ecological city planning and design projects all around the world; AS&P (Albert Speer& Partner), a Frankfurt, Germany based company which was established in 1964 by Prof. Speer, as well as how the relevant international organizations contribute to sustainable development for building the cities of the future.

When you conduct a Google search on Albert Speer, the first entry would actually be his father, Albert Speer, Sr. (1905-1987), a prominent architect of the 20th century, with his modern views and innovative technologies he had developed. What really made Mr. Speer, Sr. real popular, however, was the fact that he was the German Minister of Armament during the WW2 and a close friend of Adolf Hitler. Albert Speer Jr., a very reputable expert in ecological architecture, is now one of the most respected architects in today’s Germany. He is a member of the Urban Development and Region Planning Center in Germany and was awarded the Goethe medallion by the Municipality of Frankfurt in 2001, in addition to the many international awards he has received in the field. Although he is 75 years old, he is still working on many projects simultaneously; he would be traveling to far flung places such as Shanghai, Cairo, Baku, Nigeria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in a very limited amount of time. Despite his very hectic schedule, he is also the consultant for the Municipality of Moscow on how to further develop the city planning.

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Prof. Albert Speer Jr.

He occasionally travels to Turkey, and I was lucky to have met him first during the Urban Age conference in Istanbul in 2009, where the whole audience, including myself had admired his presentation. I developed a keen interest in“Designing the cities of future”, after our paths crossed again in Istanbul in January 2011 during another international event of workshops, and I have decided to track AS&P in all important international organizations emphasizing the urban transformation towards developing the cities of the future.

Albert Speer& Partners has conducted all feasibility studies, master plan, transportation concept and ecological environment analysis of Izmir, a candidate for the trade fair EXPO 2015 with the theme of“New Routes to a Better World/Health for All”. Milan, one of the other candidates with the sustainable theme of“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” has won the race to organize the biggest trade show in the world, a show which helps to also develop the city it is held in and makes it a center of attraction, bringing different cultures together.

Should Munich be appointed as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics this June, it will be the first time that Germany will be organizing this event since the Reunification and Albert Speer& Partners will design and realize all urban regeneration projects in the city throughout the Olympics.

However far away, Qatar has been appointed to host the 2022 World Cup finals where some of the other candidates included Japan, South Korea and USA. The first Middle Eastern country elected to host the World Cup, Qatar has the tough challenge of the desert climate, which, thanks to AS&P will be overcome; and the temperatures will be kept in the 20 Cs at the stadiums with the outstanding design and technology developed by the company. This will also make the 2022 World Cup slogan“Expect Amazing” get real.

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al khor stadium

Solar panels will be used to heat the water and the cooling system will be used to freeze it on the days when there are no games on the field, thus will providing the cooling effect in open air in these new generation stadiums to be built in Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world with their vast oil and gas reserves. There will also be collapsible roofs of the stadiums to prevent the cool air from leaking out and the solar panels will also generate the energy for illuminating the field, the scoreboard, and also supply all the electrical energy needed. The stadiums will be cooled with a natural and environment-friendly air- conditioning system where all system needs will be met using solar energy, and other innovative technologies will be used to cool the field for the players.

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al shamal stadium

albert speer& partner: qatar stadiums 2022 FIFA world cup

Solar panels will be used to heat the water and the cooling system will be used to freeze it on the days when there are no games on the field, thus will providing the cooling effect in open air in these new generation stadiums to be built in Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world with their vast oil and gas reserves. There will also be collapsible roofs of the stadiums to prevent the cool air from leaking out and the solar panels will also generate the energy for illuminating the field, the scoreboard, and also supply all the electrical energy needed. The stadiums will be cooled with a natural and environment-friendly air- conditioning system where all system needs will be met using solar energy, and other innovative technologies will be used to cool the field for the players.

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al wakrah stadium

So, what do you think? Could we have ever imagined these stadiums back when we were watching Schumacher and Maradona in their tiny shorts on black-and-white TV? But then again, how green and sustainable could we imagine the cities of the future to be? OK, the year 2000 did not carry us into the Space Age; but I’m looking forward to witness the urban transformation of Milan-alas, not Izmir- through EXPO 2015; Munich–if they win- through the 2018 Winter Olympics and Qatar through the 2022 World Cup in accordance with sustainable designs and large scale international events.

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