Elemental city

Elemental city

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If you were to build the ideal city from the best urban elements around the world, what would it include? asks Knight Frank in its Global Cities 2018 report. The answer is that five metro components from the Americas, Europe and Asia are required for that Paradise City.

First up is Seoul’s smart city technology. In the South Korean capital, for example, routes for night buses were drawn up after analysing smartphone data on where late night calls were made. In the newly built Songdo smart city near the airport, you won’t see rubbish bins or collections as waste is sucked into an underground system to be recycled or burned as fuel. Energy use per person in Songdo is 40% lower than in urban districts of comparable size.

In LA, games company EA’s move to set up shop in Playa Vista kickstarted the rise of Silicon Beach. Google followed in with a campus in Venice, and the tech giant is looking to turn the aircraft hangar where Howard Hughes built his giant seaplane into a 319,000 sq-ft office. Venice is also home to Snap Inc. “Part of the appeal is good universities, plenty of creative workers, and adjacency to Los Angeles International Airport,” says the report.

Parisian architecture rates highly with its tree-lined boulevards, limestone building façades and expansive parks and squares. Keeping Paris at the cutting edge of architecture is the under-construction DUO in the 13th arrondissement which is aiming for green with gardens integrated into the design. The 13th is also home to the recently launched Station F innovation hub, the world’s largest tech start-up campus.

Melbourne’s docklands regeneration has left the area with campus-style buildings with large floor plates and large tenants, but there’s also co-working space at The Village for small businesses. Docklands boasts a 53,000-seat stadium, 741 yacht berths, 3.7 hectares of open spaces, and 45 public art works.

Denver gets the lifestyle vote, attracting those looking for a life that is more outdoorsy, less frenetic, and laid-back. And there’s the LoDo district which has pulled in creative firms seeking space. Until 2007, LoDo was a classic ‘old warehouses into trendy offices and apartments’ regeneration story but newer developments and the digital revolution have made LoDo centre stage, while it is also driving activity in adjacent emerging neighbourhoods.

Image: Knight Frank

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